Originally posted on Shutdown Line  |  Last updated 9/27/13
You may have not seen a lot of stat-based posts from me this preseason because this is usually the time of the year where I rely on the eye-test more than anything else. The reason for this is because the results are essentially meaningless and I tend to have my focus set on a few players rather the team in general. Another reason is because video footage and in-depth stats have been hard to come by this preseason with the Canes having only a couple televised games and it's tough to make judgments when you haven't seen every game. The good news is that we can take a closer look at the team's statistical performance during the preseason. Thanks to Derek  from Fear The Fin, we can see how each player on the Hurricanes performed through on-ice shot differential (aka Corsi) and compare it to how they were utilized at even strength (zone start differential). This obviously doesn't tell everything about a player since it's just one stat, but it does give us a good idea of where the puck was whenever they were on the ice during even strength play. Good players are generally ones who can keep the play moving forward and force the other team to defend while playing at evens, which means they can consistently outshoot their opponents at even strength. Using data NHL.com's play-by-play sheets, we can see who was the best at doing this for the Hurricanes during the pre-season.* We will get to those numbers after the jump. *The 6-0 loss to Montreal was not tracked because it was not played in an NHL area. Thus, no play-by-play sheet was available for that game. Forwards Player Pos Shot Att. For Shot Att. Against Corsi Net ZS Adj. Corsi Riley Nash C 35 17 18 3 16.8 Zac Dalpe RW 36 21 15 2 14.2 Jeff Skinner LW 42 27 15 7 12.2 Tuomo Ruutu RW 16 4 12 5 10 Drayson Bowman L 50 38 12 6 9.6 Nicolas Blanchard C 16 7 9 -1 9.4 Brett Sutter L 42 35 7 0 7 Kevin Westgarth R 24 18 5 1 4.6 Alexander Semin RW 21 15 6 4 4.4 Jordan Staal C 57 58 -1 -9 2.6 Nathan Gerbe C 55 57 -2 -6 0.4 Elias Lindholm C 10 11 -1 -1 -0.6 Eric Staal C 52 52 0 8 -3.2 Jeremy Welsh C 23 25 -2 3 -3.2 Radek Dvorak R 36 37 -1 6 -3.4 Patrick Dwyer R 42 50 -8 -8 -4.8 Jared Staal RW 16 24 -8 4 -9.6 Chris Terry L 46 53 -7 7 -9.8 Jiri Tlusty C 34 47 -13 1 -13.4 - When healthy, Riley Nash has been a stud this preseason. He hasn't scored, but he has contributed in many ways and has played a lot of roles too. Muller has used him on both special teams units and started him a lot in the defensive zone in the win over Buffalo tonight. I don't know if he can score enough to play in the top-nine consistently, but Nash does a lot of things well and should be on the Hurricanes come opening night. - Jordan Staal, Nathan Gerbe and Patrick Dwyer have gelled as a line the last couple of games, producing three total goals and they've done it while playing some tough minutes. Dwyer hasn't exactly thrived in terms of puck-possession, but he's had to take some tough draws and his linemates seem to be picking up the slack fine. All three of them are in the red in shot differential but when you look at how they've been utilized, they've actually played very well, especially Staal & Gerbe. - Dalpe continues to be a solid puck-possession player but has come away with nothing to show for it thus far. Whether this is enough to keep him on the team remains to be seen, but I think the coaches were expecting more. The same goes for Drayson Bowman, only he has managed to get on the scoresheet. - It will be nice to get Jeff Skinner & Tuomo Ruutu back in the lineup very soon. - Jiri Tlusty..what the hell man? - I've beeon the fence on Dvorak and whether or not he should make the team and while his two assists are nice, his territorial performance hasn't been impressive when taking his usage into account. He has played sheltered fourth line assignments for most of the preseason and is still getting beaten on the shot clock. This could be a lot worse, but I can't see it improving much once the season starts and he gets tougher minutes. Defensemen Player Pos Shot Att. For Shot Att. Against Corsi Net ZS Adj. Corsi Brett Bellemore D 60 47 13 3 11.8 Justin Faulk D 47 36 11 -2 11.8 Michal Jordan D 35 23 12 3 10.8 Mike Komisarek D 28 23 5 -1 5.4 Andrej Sekera D 44 40 4 -2 4.8 Tim Gleason D 18 13 5 3 3.8 Jay Harrison D 64 62 2 5 0 Ryan Murphy D 79 78 1 3 -0.2 Matt Corrente D 4 14 -10 3 -11.2 Ron Hainsey D 58 76 -18 3 -19.2 - Faulk/Sekera have played togehter for most of the preseason and it looks like they could be a solid top-pairing for the Canes if all goes right. They're going to draw the tough assignments and so far, they've managed to win the territorial battle at even strength. Both are capable of moving the puck on their own and driving the play forward, so I think they could make a good, underrated shutdown pairing for the Canes. - How good has Brett Bellemore been? He might need to be sheltered in the NHL, but he has been excellent in his role and should be on the Hurricanes to start the year. I'm not sure what Bellemore can be more than a third-pairing guy at the NHL level, but the coaching staff here has tested his limits a little bit in the preseason and he has passed it with flying colors if his underlying numbers are any indication. - Mike Komisarek had a solid game tonight and he hasn't been too bad during the preseason. At the very least, the Hurricanes aren't getting destroyed at 5v5 when he has been on the ice. That's the most I expected from him and I will be satisfied if he can replicate this during the regular season. - The same can not be said for Ron Hainsey, who has been getting brutally outshot in the preseason, most of this damage coming from the Montreal game where the Canes were sitting on a 3-0 lead for the entire third period. Hopefully this isn't a sign of things to come, especially if he is going to be in the top-four. - The Canes have created a lot of offense when Ryan Murphy has been on the ice but they have also given up a ton of shots, as well. The decision to keep him or send him to the AHL to start the year will be a tough one because while he offers a lot as an offensive defenseman, he clearly has issues in his own end. Although, it wouldn't surprise me if his performance is similar a year from now. - Not to beat a dead horse here, but Corrente has not been very good at all. Goaltending/Team Performance Player Pos Shot Att. For Shot Att. Against Corsi NZ Starts Adj. Corsi Anton Khudobin G 77 99 -22 0 -22 Cam Ward G 139 106 33 0 33 It's been said that Carolina plays like a different team in front of Ward than they do their backups and that seemed to be the case during the preseason. Despite playing only two games, Khudobin saw nearly the same number of shots as Ward during 5v5 play and the Canes gave him much less offensive support on top of that. Both games Khudobin played in were on the road so that likely played a factor, but it's still a little concerning. That said, the Canes ended up outshooting their opponents by 11 over five games. Not bad, but it can definitely be improved.  
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