Following up on yesterday’s article which looked at how each Carolina Hurricanes forward has performed this year, this post will focus on how each defenseman on Carolina has performed up to the All-Star break.
JOEL EDMUNDSON- meeting expectations
He didn’t form the stable third-pairing with Trevor van Riemsdyk like many expected and has played in the top-four for the majority of the season. He’s had a bigger role than he probably would’ve expected but so far he’s been a stable part of the blue line.
HAYDN FLEURY- meeting expectations
After splitting time between Carolina and Charlotte last season, Haydn Fleury has pushed for a spot as an NHL regular this year, often relegating Trevor van Riemsdyk to the press box in the process. He’s been sheltered when he does play, averaging under 11 minutes a game at even strength but he’s been fine in his limited role.
JAKE GARDINER- falling short of expectations
The transition to Carolina has not gone as planned for Jake Gardiner. He’s seen his ice time drop by about five minutes per game from last year and isn’t creating anywhere near as much offense as he normally does. He was supposed to essentially replace Justin Faulk but has been much more of a liability than an asset this season.
DOUGIE HAMILTON- surpassing expectations
Hamilton was having a career-year before his injury. He was one of the league’s top offensive defensemen with 14 goals and 40 points in 48 games. Hamilton was carrying the puck, hopping into the play and doing it all for the Hurricanes. His absence will certainly be felt on the blue line as the season goes on.
BRETT PESCE- meeting expectations
You know what you’re getting out of Brett Pesce. He’s extremely reliable in his own end and has been important to Carolina’s penalty kill, where he averages more than three minutes per game. He can still chip in a bit of offense as well and with Hamilton out, he’s the Hurricanes’ top right-shot defenseman at the moment.
JACCOB SLAVIN- meeting expectations
Coming off his first NHL All-Star game (where he won the shooting accuracy competition), Slavin will be counted on even more in the second half with Hamilton absent. He’s one of the best defensive defensemen in the league and is one of the few that can also produce offensively. He’s Carolina’s best all-around defenseman.
TREVOR VAN RIEMSDYK- falling short of expectations
Van Riemsdyk has been phased out a bit, with Haydn Fleury’s development taking priority. He’ll be a lineup regular now with Hamilton out but when he has played this season, he hasn’t been the solid third-pairing defenseman that he was in previous years.
Part three of the All-Star Break evaluations comes tomorrow, which will look at how Carolina’s goaltending has performed.
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OTHER HURRICANES ARTICLES FROM JANUARY
Evaluating all Hurricanes' forwards at the All-Star break
Justin Williams is surpassing expectations
Hurricanes don't need to trade for defensive help after Hamilton injury
Hurricanes shouldn’t wait much longer for goaltending to improve
Justin Williams signs with Hurricanes
Justin Williams may be returning to the Carolina Hurricanes