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About Last Season: Jaccob Slavin Performance Review and Grade

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The 2021 Lady Byng Trophy winner will be without his normal defensive partner for the past two seasons come October, but there’s no need to fear the unknown when a player is as rock-solid steady as Slavin.

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

Jaccob Slavin: 2020-21 By The Numbers

  • Age: 26
  • NHL Seasons: 6
  • Scoring: 3 goals, 12 assists, 15 points in 52 games
  • Advanced Statistics: 54.5 CF%, 55.6 SCF%, 59.2 GF%, 54.2 xG%
  • Average TOI: 22:58 ES, 0:08 PP, 2:47 SH
  • Contract Status: Signed through June 2025, $5.3 million AAV
  • 2021 Lady Byng Trophy winner

There are people who will have you believe that the departure of Dougie Hamilton is going to lead to a downturn in his former defensive partner’s performance. Hamilton, these people would contend, was the reason that Jaccob Slavin was so effective, and by losing Hamilton, the Hurricanes will not only have his hole to fill but would also have to contend with a corresponding drop in play from Slavin.

These people are wrong.

Yes, losing Hamilton will hurt. He’s an analytics darling for good reason, a top-ten (maybe top-five, depending on who’s ranking?) defenseman in the NHL. Any team with him on the roster is going to be better, and any team that no longer has him on their roster is going to take a step back.

But the pairing of Hamilton and Slavin wasn’t the defenseman equivalent of Connor McDavid dragging Zack Kassian up and down the ice, or of Joe Thornton winning the 2006 Rocket Richard Trophy for someone named Jonathan Cheechoo. (If you’re wondering if I made up that name, reader, I can assure you I did not.) Slavin’s as steady as they come, and any drop in his play should be minimal to nonexistent.

Doing one of these reviews for Slavin is about as easy as they come. Every year, you can expect a Corsi-for somewhere around 54-55% (check), an expected goals percentage in the same range (check), a microscopically small number of penalties (check), and an ice time between 22:30 and 23:30 (check). This is now five years running that we’ve seen this type of consistency from Slavin, only two of which were spent next to Hamilton. There’s no reason to think that Slavin won’t have the same sorts of numbers next year, whether he’s playing next to Brett Pesce, Ethan Bear, Tony DeAngelo or anyone else.

Heck, with two new goaltenders joining the roster for next season, Slavin might even need to up his game a bit, now that he’s made at least one ridiculous empty-net save for two years running:

Slavin goes about his business in very much the same way his coach did during his own playing career. He’s remarkably consistent, dependable, and productive year after year. There are other players on the roster who may be more flashy or who get the headlines for carrying the offensive burden for the Hurricanes, but it’s fair to argue that there’s no more indispensable player on the roster than Slavin.

It’s no surprise that in the first-round series win over the Predators, the Hurricanes were 3-0 in games Slavin played, and 1-2 in games he missed. His consistency is the platform on which the team’s entire structure is built.

There’s no reason to think that is going to change anytime soon, no matter who slides onto Slavin’s right flank come October.



Poll

How would you grade Jaccob Slavin’s 2021-22 season?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    A - outstanding performance
    (280 votes)
  • 16%
    B - above average performance
    (56 votes)
  • 0%
    C - average performance
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    D - below average performance
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    F - significantly below average performance
    (0 votes)
340 votes total Vote Now