The world’s worst-kept secret was finally revealed ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes’ trip to the shark tank in San Jose.
Seth Jarvis is an NHL player, and he isn’t going anywhere.
It took seven games and an injury to a critical top-nine forward, but Seth Jarvis finally got into the Hurricanes’ lineup, and he never looked back.
The 19-year-old logged points in his first two NHL games, including his first goal in a come-from-behind win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
What was expected to be a dramatic, controversial decision for the Canes quickly became a no-brainer. From day one, Jarvis looked ready, and now after ten games, it remains clear that he belongs in the NHL.
Not only does he belong, but he also belongs in the top-six of a team with Stanley Cup aspirations.
After starting on the team’s fourth line, Rod Brind’Amour and company quickly realized that he needed to be utilized in a more significant role. That role has been on the first line alongside established stars in Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov.
In 62:36 of 5-on-5 ice time, that newly conceived trio has outscored their opponents 5-2. The impressive numbers hold up when you take a closer look. That line has a 56.06 CF%, 54.0 xGF%, and 60.66 SCF%.
While the sample size is far from grand, they paint a very pretty picture of what Jarvis has brought to the first line. Without the rookie on the wing, Aho and Svechnikov had struggled mightily at 5-on-5. This season, with just that established duo together, the Hurricanes got outshot, out shot-attempted, out-chanced, and managed to score just one goal in just under 44 minutes.
When Jarvis has been on the ice with at least one of those two players, the Canes are outscoring opponents 7-2.
Jarvis has quickly become a key figure among the Hurricanes’ forward group. In addition to getting first-line usage at 5-on-5, he’s been putting his puck skills on display on the second power-play unit. Over his last five games, he is averaging 16:15 of ice time per game, and he has points in each of his last four games.
He started as the odd-man out on a team looking to take the next step, but he instantly proved himself as a long-term solution in a prominent role.
“Seth came into camp as the odd man out,” Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said in a statement about keeping Jarvis. “As I always say, I don’t pick the team, the performance of the players is what speaks the loudest. He was very good in our rookie tournament and as main camp opened up, he never looked back. His hockey sense and puck skills are top end, you can’t teach these things. Seth belongs to be in a Canes jersey today and for a long time, he has earned it.”
Jarvis has been so good that his presence has forced other worthy players out of the lineup. Derek Stepan and Steven Lorentz have both had fantastic starts to their season on the fourth line, but they’ve gotten nights off to keep the dynamic rookie in the lineup.
That’s a testament to how impactful Jarvis has been, as is the team’s willingness to burn the first year of his entry-level contract.
He made it an absolute no-brainer.
Winning When You Shouldn’t
After going through a stretch to start the season where they were largely dominant in most areas of the game, the last two weeks haven’t been quite as easy for the Hurricanes.
Dating back to their 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina has been on the wrong side of 5-on-5 expected goals for in all but one of their six games. That was the game in Vegas that kicked off their six-game road trip, which was visibly their strongest performance on the trip.
Their last two games, in particular, have been rough.
I’m not sure what demon the team made a sacrifice in order to secure a win in Los Angeles, but the Hurricane somehow escaped Staples Center with a 5-4 win despite getting outshot 19-2 in the third period of a one-goal game.
They didn’t get quite as lucky against the Sharks, but they did force the game into overtime before eventually finding themselves on the wrong side of a 2-1 final score. After a back-and-forth first two periods, the Canes got caved in during stretches in the third period.
Third-period goaltending has been one of the biggest factors in Carolina’s 14-2-1 start to the season. Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta have both locked down third-period barrages from their opponents.
In many games to this point, the Hurricanes have been boosted by their top-end players converting with efficiency and relying upon elite-level goaltending to get their wins.
That’s a recipe that can work for long stretches of a regular season, but it will be essential for them to finish games with the same enthusiasm that they tend to start them with.
It will be interesting to see how the next month pans out for Carolina. They are in the midst of what might be the most physically demanding stretch of their season. The team will close out their current road trip with games in Seattle and Philadelphia, return home for a Sunday afternoon date with Washington, go to Dallas, return home for games against Ottawa and Buffalo, and then go out on another trip out west through Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Minnesota.
That’s a lot of traveling and a lot of games in four weeks when you also take the first four games of their current road trip into account.
Odds are, the Hurricanes will need to have a few more wins similar to the one got against the Kings to get through this highly-tasking stretch of hockey.
Fortunately, the Hurricanes are a deep and talented team with the best goalie play in hockey. That puts them in the driver’s seat almost every single night and makes it so that they can outscore a lot of their problems.
New Jersey’s New Jersey
The New Jersey Devils did a thing recently, and people have been making fun of them for doing said thing.
That thing was announcing their new alternate uniforms.
So, a lot of people are clowning the Devils for what is, admittedly, an uninspired creative decision on their new jersey.
But I’ll come out and say it; they aren’t bad. They’re actually kinda good.
Teams have gotten very comfortable with using script as their primary logo on alternate jerseys, but the red drop shadow on the lettering looks nice, and that applies to the numbering as well.
My only complaint is the lack of red outside of its sparse usage around the letters. If you add some red to that collection of white striping on the arms and shoulders, I think this jersey is a banger. As is, it’s still pretty cool, if a little boring.