ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 25: Zac Dalpe of the Carolina Hurricanes fires a pass against the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena on September 25, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hurricanes won 1-0. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
The Hurricanes made a surprising move today by deciding to send down forward Zac Dalpe to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League and recall Tim Wallace. Dalpe had two points in six games and is the only forward on the team who can go to the AHL without needing waivers, so he was sent down in favor of Tim Wallace who could possibly add some grit to the team. Wallace sometimes played in the top-six for the Charlotte Checkers, can kill penalties and has 20 goals and 43 points with them. He hasn't been much more than a fourth liner at the NHL level. Wallace can be useful to Carolina, so I don't have an issue with being called up, the problem is that Dalpe deserves to be on this team.
Dalpe was playing on a line with Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner for most of the year, so sending him down opens up a hole in the top-six. That alone makes this move a bit perplexing because the Hurricanes are already starved for secondary scoring and don't have many candidates who can slide up into Dalpe's spot. Not only that, but Dalpe was a contributing member to the second line.
Second Line Scoring Chance Numbers
Dalpe's two points in six games do not look like much, but whenever he was on the ice during five-on-five play, scoring chances were going in the Hurricanes favor. Dalpe was also creating a high amount of offense relative to the minutes he was playing. Oh, and he managed to do this while playing alongside Jordan Staal, which means that he was being given some of the toughest assignments on the team. I try to keep rants and complaints out of this blog, but demoting a forward who can drive the play, produce offense and is competent enough to play the toughs makes little sense, especially with Carolina's need for secondary scoring.
So now the question is who slides up into Dalpe's spot? Chad LaRose was playing there for most of the third period on Saturday night against Philadelphia but he didn't do much of anything at even strength, so I'm not sue if he'll stay there. The other candidates are Drayson Bowman and possibly Patrick Dwyer all of which are good third liners but not ideal top-six options. That's the same problem Carolina had with their top-six last year, though. They were overslotting third liners into top-six spots because they didn't have much else to turn to, something that many thought wouldn't happen this year. With Ruutu's injury, Boychuk being lost on waivers and now Dalpe being demoted in favor of a fourth liner, the scoring depth Carolina once had is now in jeopardy.
The good news is that Dalpe can be recalled at any time, but sending him down doesn't make much sense in the first place.