Sometimes GMs will find hidden gems on the waiver wire and while Andreas Nod isn't exactly a diamond in the rough, he is a very useful player and the Hurricanes were able to get him for next to nothing at the end November. Nodl's career with the Hurricanes didn't have a great start as it took Kirk Muller a little over a month to find out Nodl's strengths and decide where he fits in the lineup. It was then that Nodl's play started to improve and he became a regular on the team's third line with Patrick Dwyer and Brandon Sutter.
Nodl has never been a great puck handler and needs top-nine minutes to succeed but his terrific defensive play is something that gets overlooked by a lot of people and makes him valuable to a team like the Hurricanes. Fortunately, this did not pass over Muller's head and he made Nodl one of the team's "heavy lifters" and Nodl performed fairly well in this role. Nodl's defensive skills keep him from being a replacement level player but you can find guys who have similar skills to him for close to the league minimum. Hence why the Canes were able to get him off waivers.
With that in mind, I think Nodl has a lot of potential and plays a big role on the third line but his offensive skills are something that needs a lot of work. That isn't his role but one of my complaints from this season was that the Hurricanes weren't getting enough offense from their third line and Nodl was a key reason for that. He did a lot of good things even when he wasn't scoring, though and that point is reinforced when you look at his underlying numbers from this year.
Andreas Nodl 2011-12 Scoring Chances
Average TOI: 11:42
EV Scoring Chance% Fwd Rank: 13/18
EV Scoring Chance Diff Fwd Rank: 13/18
OZ Start%: 44.1%
Nodl started out on the fourth line but was eventually placed on the third line in mid-January and he stayed in that role for the rest of the year. With that, he faced some of the toughest opponents and started in the defensive zone more times than not. The one difference between him and his linemates is that he played less minutes than Dwyer and Sutter. Although, the overall average is probably brought down from his first month on the team when he was playing less than 10 minutes a game.
Scoring Chances by Season Segment
TC = total chances, SC = segment chances, Segment% = scoring chance percentage during segment, Team %= Hurricanes' scoring chance percentage during segment
Season Segment Line Graph
Click to enlarge graph
Like I said before, Nodl's first month in Carolina wasn't good at all. He was invisible for most games and wasn't even on ice for a Carolina even strength scoring chance until his fourth or fifth game. This is largely because he was being used on the fourth line with weak linemates and little to no ice time. It is hard to succeed in that role, especially if you're a player whose best asset is defense. Nodl's play got better as the season went on and you will notice that he able to stay around the .43-.47 mark when he was playing on the third line regularly. That isn't good by most standards, but it isn't terrible when you are being in used in similar situations as him. Something to look into would be his adjusted scoring chance numbers after he was placed on the third line because his overall numbers are skewed from that awful start.
I think Nodl has a lot of potential and is a fine defensive forward, but he is similar to Dwyer in the sense that his lack of offensive upside prevents him from being more than a third liner. He had a decent offensive season in Philadelphia last year when he was playing with Mike Richards, but he isn't going to have that luxury in Carolina because Sutter isn't nearly as good as Richards. I still think he is fine is his current role but I wouldn't mind seeing an upgrade. Also, why the hell wasn't he used on the PK this year? It seems like that would be right up his alley, especially on a team that's been using players like Jeff Skinner and Jiri Tlustly on the PK.
Sutter and Dwyer were Nodl's regular linemates and he had some moderate success with them but nothing great. There was a time period where these three were at least breaking even when playing five-on-five but they regressed in the last couple months of the season. Nod's numbers away from those two are pretty alarming but I think that mostly relates to his other linemates, most notably Tim Brent & Anthony Stewart.
Nodl's numbers with Gleason and Allen are very good and could perhaps show that he is able to handle himself when playing tough assignments. However, that confidence goes decreases a bit when you look at how he did when he wasn't playing in front of Allen & Gleason. Yikes.