Leading up to the start of the Carolina Hurricanes’ first round series against the Nashville Predators, I’ll be taking a look at how the teams match up against one another on paper. In the first of these articles, I’ll compare the forward groups.
One of Carolina’s biggest strengths this year was their offense. Unlike last season, the team got huge contributions from secondary forwards, meaning it wasn’t all up to Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov, with Teuvo Teravainen injured. Martin Necas had great sophomore season and Vincent Trocheck was excellent in his first full year in Carolina, while Nino Niederreiter and Jordan Staal both had a bounce back season.
The Hurricanes had two forwards who would have been on pace for 75 points in an 82-game season (Aho and Trocheck), two who would be on pace for at least 60 points per 82 (Necas and Svechnikov), and three who would have been on pace for 50 points (Niederreiter, Staal and Teravainen). This isn’t even mentioning a strong group of depth forwards, which includes Jesper Fast, Warren Foegele and Brock McGinn.
Nashville’s forward group, on the other hand, significantly lacked contributions from top players. The Predators finished 21st in the league in goals per game and while Filip Forsberg had a solid 12 goals and 32 points in just 39 games, no other forwards were really providing consistent offense for Nashville.
Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen, who count for a combined $16 million against the cap per season, combined for just 13 goals this season. While both players missed time this season, they were underwhelming when they did play. Viktor Arvidsson has also seen a major decline in his production over the last two years and while the likes of Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, Calle Jarnkrok and Eeli Tolvanen can provide some secondary offense, the Predators are still majorly lacking scoring at the top of their lineup.
When it comes to forward groups, the comparison isn’t really close. While Nashville did get more offense in the back half of the season, their forward group doesn’t match up well against Carolina’s offense.
Check back in the next few days for articles comparing the teams’ defense and goaltending.
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Which team do you think has the better forward group?