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Halfway Point Projections: Looking at the Carolina Hurricanes’ rates of production

The Carolina Hurricanes are halfway through the season and are one of the top teams in the league. Today, we take a look at the production rates of the skaters this year and see how it compares to those from last season and project what their final point totals may be.

Carolina Hurricanes v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Scott Audette /NHLI via Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes are halfway through their season and are off to one of the best starts in the league. With a record of 20-7-1, the Hurricanes are one of only two teams to reach 20 wins by the halfway mark and should be a sure lock for the playoffs.

And they are doing all of this with quite a few key injuries.

For one, the Hurricanes had to pause their season three games in due to a COVID-19 outbreak that affected six players.

Their number one netminder, Petr Mrazek, has been out with a thumb injury since the fourth game of the season.

Teuvo Teravainen, who was one of the six players who contracted COVID-19, also has missed extended time due to a concussion.

Jake Gardiner, who has been one of Carolina’s top puck movers and defenders this season, has been out with a back injury.

Vincent Trocheck, the team’s top scorer, is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

There’s no telling what the next blow might be or when the team may finally be fully healthy, but the Canes aren’t seeming bothered by the absences. The team is just finding ways to win.

Let’s take a look at the roster’s production and compare it to the previous season’s paces.

But first a few caveats.

These are just simple mathematical projections. Take the rate of scoring and multiply it by the amount of games players are projected to play. Unfortunately injuries, whether now or later, make it hard to accurately calculate a final total.

Second, we are using production rates to see the current pace of the players and comparing them to the previous season. Production rates will change dramatically throughout a season, but since the season is halfway over, we can make a special occasion to view some of the rates, but you are warned now that they are prone to change.

Finally, new guys like Steven Lorentz and Jake Bean won’t have much discussion in this article simply because they don’t have any rates from last season to compare to and with the uncertainty of their playing time with a healthy roster, projections can’t really be made.


Forwards

(Differences are calculated between this current season and last season; Projections are just using current scoring paces and calculating it for the projected amount of games played. For players like Morgan Geekie and Steven Lorentz on the taxi squad and injuries like Teuvo Teravainen and Vincent Trocheck, I can’t really predict how many games they will end up playing so I left their entries blank)

Forward Point Projections

Player Games Played Goals Assists Points Shooting % Differene in Shooting % Goal per Game Difference in Goals per Game Assist per Game Difference in Assists per Game Point per Game Difference in Points per Game Projected Games Played Projected Goals Projected Assists Projected Points
Player Games Played Goals Assists Points Shooting % Differene in Shooting % Goal per Game Difference in Goals per Game Assist per Game Difference in Assists per Game Point per Game Difference in Points per Game Projected Games Played Projected Goals Projected Assists Projected Points
Sebastian Aho 28 11 15 26 15.9% -2.5% 0.39 -0.17 0.54 +0.13 0.93 -0.04 56 21 30 51
Jesper Fast 23 3 8 11 17.6% +3.3% 0.13 -0.04 0.35 +0.1 0.48 +0.06 51 6 17 23
Warren Foegele 25 5 5 10 13.9% +3.8% 0.2 +0.01 0.2 -0.05 0.4 -0.04 53 10 10 20
Morgan Geekie 12 2 0 2 22.2% -52.8% 0.17 -1.33 0 -0.5 0.17 -1.83 - - - -
Steven Lorentz 17 1 1 2 6.7% - 0.06 - 0.06 - 0.12 - - - - -
Jordan Martinook 25 1 6 7 3.8% -0.7% 0.04 0 0.24 0 0.29 0 53 2 12 14
Brock McGinn 28 8 5 13 18.6% +11.1% 0.29 +0.19 0.18 +0.03 0.46 +0.21 56 16 10 26
Martin Necas 25 5 10 15 9.6% -8.6% 0.2 -0.05 0.4 +0.09 0.6 +0.04 53 10 21 31
Nino Niederreiter 28 13 6 19 18.3% +8.7% 0.46 +0.3 0.21 -0.08 0.68 +0.25 56 25 11 36
Cedric Paquette 16 1 2 3 12.5% +3.5% 0.06 -0.05 0.13 -0.05 0.19 -0.1 44 2 5 7
Jordan Staal 26 10 12 22 21.7% +15.3 0.38 +0.26 0.46 +0.18 0.85 +0.45 54 20 24 44
Andrei Svechnikov 28 8 14 22 9.8% -3.3% 0.29 -0.06 0.5 -0.04 0.79 -0.1 56 16 28 44
Teuvo Teravainen 13 2 7 9 6.5% -1.7% 0.15 -0.07 0.54 -0.16 0.69 -0.23 - - - -
Vincent Trocheck 24 13 11 24 19.1% +11.3% 0.54 +0.36 0.46 -0.01 1 +0.35 - - - -

We all know who would have better projections than last season. You can see the large leaps from players like Nino Niederreiter, Brock McGinn and Jordan Staal, while other players like Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov are continuing to keep a steady pace even if down from their career seasons last year.

While not always the case, we can also see a bit of a correlation between shooting percentages and point production among the forwards. When it goes up, more points are generally seen.

This can’t always be as cut and dry as it sounds though because the volume of shots taken can be very volatile. For instance, Cedric Paquette and Jesper Fast each are seeing an increase in their shooting percentages, but Paquette’s overall production rate has dropped while Fast’s has risen.

For the most part though, the rest of the forward group is continuing around the same pace as last season with little change in their overall rates of production.

Interesting little slices from the data are that Jordan Martinook has the same exact rate of scoring as he had last season and that Geekie has had an obvious fall from grace now that he isn’t scoring two points per game.

Probably one of the most interesting things I’ve seen is that despite seeing his shooting percentage be cut nearly in half, Necas’ overall production has risen slightly. The goals are starting to tick up a little more for him as of late, but the true growth has been in his playmaking game.

That and being with consistently good finishers like Niederreiter and Trocheck has allowed him to rack up assists.


Defensemen

(Same formula with the forwards, but this time Jake Gardiner, Jake Bean and Haydn Fleury are left out of projections. Gardiner’s injury time table is unknown and not sure if Bean will get the time if Gardiner does come back healthy. Also Fleury’s projections would just be 0’s as he doesn’t have any points yet)

Defensemen Point Productions

Player Games Played Goals Assists Points Shooting % Differene in Shooting % Goal per Game Difference in Goals per Game Assist per Game Difference in Assists per Game Point per Game Difference in Points per Game Projected Games Played Projected Goals Projected Assists Projected Points
Player Games Played Goals Assists Points Shooting % Differene in Shooting % Goal per Game Difference in Goals per Game Assist per Game Difference in Assists per Game Point per Game Difference in Points per Game Projected Games Played Projected Goals Projected Assists Projected Points
Jake Bean 18 1 9 10 3.7% - 0.05 - 0.5 - 0.56 - - - - -
Haydn Fleury 24 0 0 0 0% -6.2% 0 -0.09 0 -0.22 0 -0.31 - - - -
Jake Gardiner 17 0 7 7 0% -4.6% 0 -0.06 0.41 +0.12 0.41 +0.06 - - - -
Dougie Hamilton 28 3 19 22 3.4% -4.8% 0.1 -0.2 0.68 +0.13 0.79 -0.06 56 5 38 43
Brett Pesce 28 3 11 14 6.3% +2.5% 0.1 +0.03 0.39 +0.16 0.5 +0.2 56 5 21 26
Brady Skjei 28 0 3 3 0% -5.8% 0 -0.12 0.1 -0.14 0.1 -0.26 56 0 5 5
Jaccob Slavin 25 1 8 9 2.4% -1.7% 0.04 -0.05 0.32 -0.12 0.36 -0.17 53 2 16 18

A big difference between the forward’s chart and the defensemen’s is the drop off in d-men scoring for the Canes. All of the corp besides Brett Pesce has seen a dip in goal scoring as compared to last year.

A big factor for this can just be luck, but we are also seeing Hurricanes’ forwards much more involved and all over the offensive zone. The Canes tout a much stronger forward group than years prior, so part of the changeup can just be the defense shooting more for rebounds or tips.

This could explain the drops in shooting percentage for the defense too — again outside offensive juggernaut Brett Pesce — because entrusting the forwards to score may be part of the plan. Who’s to say?

Another thing we can see is that production is down for all defensemen outside of Pesce and Gardiner. It’s no secret that the pair was by far Carolina’s top unit when they were paired together, but Gardiner’s injury issues have put a real damper on them.

And lastly, we can see that even though he isn’t scoring as many goals, Dougie Hamilton’s overall point production rate is nearly identical to his from last season. He had a slow start to the season, but he looks just as comfortable as ever and the numbers back that up.

Keep in mind that point production isn’t the main purpose for defensemen, but defensive responsibility and impact is a bit harder to tabulate. Regardless, the point of the game is to score goals so you would still want to see your blueline producing a bit more from the other half of the group.