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Season In Review: The Forwards

A look back at the 19 different skaters that played at least one game for the Canes this season

by Walt Ruff @WaltRuff / Hurricanes.com

RALEIGH, NC. - All is said and done for the 2021-22 Carolina Hurricanes season.

Let's take a look back at the year of the fellas up front.

 

Sebastian Aho

Regular Season Totals: 79 Games Played, 37 Goals, 44 Assists, 81 Points

Playoff Totals: 14 Games Played, 4 Goals, 7 Assists, 11 Points

Contract Status: Signed through the end of the 2023-24 season

The team's number one center and top point producer had another strong season, proving once again that at just 24 years old he's the present and the future for the club up front.

An integral part of both the power play and penalty kill, Aho produced at over a point-per-game while going up against some of the biggest talents in the league. While his personal contributions matter little to him in comparison to the full team's success, the year after year consistency in his numbers should give full confidence that he can handle the responsibility of the position for many seasons to come.

 

Video: CAR@CGY: Aho does it himself for the overtime winner

 

Max Domi

Regular Season Totals: 19 Games Played, 2 Goals, 5 Assists, 7 Points (after being acquired from Columbus on March 21)

Playoff Totals: 14 Games Played, 3 Goals, 3 Assists, 6 Points

Contract Status: Pending Unrestricted Free Agent

The Canes were already in first place at the NHL's mid-March trade deadline, but went out and added another piece to their forward group in Domi.

What undoubtedly will be remembered most from Domi's abbreviated time with Carolina this season was his Round 1, Game 7 performance against the Boston Bruins. He scored twice, including the game-winning goal, sending his club to a second round matchup against the New York Rangers.

 

 

Jack Drury

Regular Season Totals: 2 Games Played, 2 Goals, 0 Assists, 2 Points

Playoff Totals: DNP w/Carolina

Contract Status: Signed through the end of the 2023-24 season

Entering the season Drury was primed as a prospect for the team to have their eyes on in Chicago (AHL). In his first professional season in North America, the 2018 second round pick was then thrust into the Carolina lineup for a pair of games in mid-December as the club struggled through COVID-19 issues.

Making the most of his opportunity, Drury scored in both games and his stock has only continued to rise since. Now looked at as someone who could be primed to make the jump to an every night player for the Canes next season, the center has been a key player for the Woves in their current quest for a Calder Cup.

 

Video: LAK@CAR: Drury scores second goal in second NHL game

 

Jesper Fast

Regular Season Totals: 82 Games Played, 14 Goals, 20 Assists, 34 Points

Playoff Totals: 14 Games, 1 Goal, 0 Assists, 1 Point

Contract Status: Signed through the end of the 2022-23 season

#71's season started with three goals in four games, an early surprise to start the campaign.

What wound up being more memorable from his season was his consistency alongside Nino Niederreiter and Jordan Staal, a responsible and dependable third line for nearly all 82 games. Voted as the Steve Chiasson Award winner by his teammates for best exemplifying determination and dedication while proving to be to be an inspiration through his approach, Fast displayed that he's a fantastic depth piece for the club.

 

 

Seth Jarvis

Regular Season Totals: 68 Games Played, 17 Goals, 23 Assists, 40 Points

Playoff Totals: 14 Games Played, 3 Goals, 5 Assists, 8 Points

Contract Status: Signed through the end of the 2023-24 season

Surprise of the season? Feel-good story of the season? Both?

To say the 2021-22 campaign was a success for the rookie would be an understatement.

Back during training camp Rod Brind'Amour said that the 2020 first round pick had all the tools on the offensive side of the game to make the team, but it was his play away from the puck that needed some work in order for him to be an NHL player. By the end of the team's four-game preseason schedule and subsequent first nine games of the year, Jarvis had shown enough to warrant a full-time roster spot.

Fast forward six months and the now 20-year old was not only in the lineup for his first career Stanley Cup Playoffs, he was the team's most productive player within the forward group. Despite being listed at just 5-foot-10, 181 lbs., Jarvis' willingness to go to the dirty areas of the ice proved that he what he make lack in size, he makes up for in heart.

Add him to an already youthful core of Aho, Kotkaniemi, Svechnikov and more, it's hard not to be excited about what's to come for #24.

 

Video: CAR@CHI: Jarvis scores first NHL goal against Marc-Andre Fleury

  

Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Regular Season Totals: 66 Games Played, 12 Goals, 17 Assists, 29 Points

Playoff Totals: 14 Games Played, 0 Goals, 2 Assists, 2 Points

Contract Status: Signed through the end of the 2029-30 season

There was no shortage of eyeballs on "KK" during his first season in Carolina. There was the initial saga surrounding the offer sheet, him starting the season on the wing, his first game back in Montreal, a healthy eight-year contract extension and then a late-season knee injury.

The takeaway though is that this was not a one season revenge tool toward the Montreal Canadiens. Kotkaniemi, like Jarvis, is now another piece to a core of Canes forwards in their early 20's that are building for years to come in Raleigh.

Was there an adjustment period? Absolutely. But after the All-Star break and before his injury against Washington in March, #82 had been playing his best hockey of the year. The 21-year-old got settled into his role as the team's fourth line center for the second half of the season, but now with Vincent Trocheck's pending free agency putting some things in limbo, Kotkaniemi could be in line to take on more responsibility next season.

 

 

Josh Leivo

Regular Season Totals: 7 Games Played, 1 Goal, 2 Assists, 3 Points

Playoff Totals: DNP w/Carolina

Contract Status: Pending Unrestricted Free Agent

The team's most commonly recalled forward when in need, Leivo made his presence felt when called upon.

A staple in Chicago's lineup, the ninth-year professional currently leads all skaters in the Calder Cup Playoffs with his 22 points in 14 games.

 

 

Steven Lorentz

Regular Season Totals: 67 Games Played, 8 Goals, 5 Assists, 13 Points

Playoff Totals: 5 Games, 0 Goals, 0 Assists, 0 Points

Contract Status: Pending Restricted Free Agent

Four seasons ago Lorentz split time between the AHL and the ECHL. Three seasons ago he grew into a full-time AHL player, playing an important role on the way to winning a Calder Cup with Charlotte. Two years ago he made the jump to the NHL, playing 45 games in the shortened season. Now this past season the 2015 seventh round draft pick played in a career-high 67 games.

The clear upward trajectory makes Lorentz a piece to love. His infectious positive attitude only furthers that.

The next question is can he take another step now, potentially working his way up in the lineup? While he too is a free agent, some big decisions for Carolina up front could open more doors for #78.

 

Video: TOR@CAR: Lorentz spins and scores impressive goal

 

Jordan Martinook

Regular Season Totals: 59 Games Played, 6 Goals, 9 Assists, 15 Points

Playoff Totals: 6 Games Played, 0 Goals, 1 Assist, 1 Point

Contract Status: Signed through the end of the 2023-24 season

A veteran presence within the team's locker room, Martinook's game is built around the energy he brings to the team. When you consider that a key fabric to Carolina's identity is their ability to forecheck and attack teams when they have the puck in their own end, that's where #48 brings a key element to the lineup.

Martinook is also someone who clearly has the trust of his head coach, as #48 played up and down the lineup all year long for the club, including a stint on the first line.

Never afraid to bang a body, Martinook was on the wrong end of two collisions this season that unfortunately caused him to miss some time. A nasty looking lower-body injury in early December held him out of the lineup for six weeks and then another lower-body injury during Game 3 of the series against Boston held him out until Game 5 of the next series against New York.

 

Martin Necas

Regular Season Totals: 78 Games Played, 14 Goals, 26 Assists, 40 Points

Playoff Totals: 14 Games Played, 0 Goals, 5 Assists, 5 Points

Contract Status: Pending Restricted Free Agent

Necas was honest with his assessment of his play at his end of season media availability, sharing that his year was a disappointment.

It was a slightly underwhelming first half for #88 with 22 points in 38 games, but the second half highlighted the struggles to a new level. The 23-year-old had just one goal in the final month of the season and 18 points in the final 40 games. The playoffs were no kinder. 

This was the first time in his career that the 2017 first round selection was playing in a contract year and he hopes that when a new deal gets done he can take his game to new and brighter pastures.

 

 

Nino Niederreiter

Regular Season Totals: 75 Games Played, 24 Goals, 20 Assists, 44 Points

Playoff Totals: 14 Games Played, 4 Goals, 1 Assist, 5 Points

Contract Status: Pending Unrestricted Free Agent

Like Necas, Niederreiter was also playing in a contract year and his performance likely earned him a healthy deal this summer.

Finishing just one goal shy of his career-high, the 29-year-old was a goal-scoring force on the third line alongside Jordan Staal and Jesper Fast. Also a contributor on the power play, #21 was effective as could be down low and at the front of the net, making his bread and butter in the form of rebounds, deflections second chances.

 

 

Stefan Noesen

Regular Season Totals: 2 Games Played, 0 Goals, 0 Assists, 0 Points

Playoff Totals: DNP w/ Carolina

Contract Status: Pending Unrestricted Free Agent

Noesen's lone activity in Raleigh this season came in December as the team had a string of players on the COVID-19 list. But while in Chicago with the club's AHL affiliate, no player in the league scored more goals.

Scoring 48 goals in 70 games, Noesen has 13 game-winners and 12 multi-goal games. Like teammate Andrew Poturalski, there is not much left to prove on the offensive side of things. As the attention turns to the future, will his confidence-boosting season lead to more NHL time for the 2011 first round pick?

 

 

Andrew Poturalski

Regular Season Totals: 2 Games Played, 0 Goals, 2 Assists, 2 Points

Playoff Totals: DNP w/ Carolina

Contract Status: Pending Unrestricted Free Agent

As Noesen recorded the most goals in the American League this season, Poturalski took home the John B. Sollenberger Trophy for publishing the most points.

It had been 12 years since a player published over 100 points in the top developmental league for the NHL, but the Williamsville, NY native posted 101 in 72 games, earning the scoring title for the second time in his career.

When called upon to fill a lineup spot for the Canes in December, Poturalski provided more of the same, tallying two assists in two games. They were the first two points of his NHL career, coming in his third and fourth games in the league.

 

 

C.J. Smith

Regular Season Totals: 1 Game Played, 0 Goals, 0 Assists, 0 Points

Playoff Totals: DNP w/ Carolina

Contract Status: Pending Unrestricted Free Agent

Smith nearly played himself into the Canes lineup out of training camp, having an extremely notable preseason in his first year with the club.

The forward had previously played in 14 NHL games with the Sabres and was among the final cuts for Carolina following the final preseason game. He produced at nearly a point-per-game clip for Chicago (AHL) this season and was able to play in one game for the big club during the team's struggles with COVID-19 in December.

 

 

Jordan Staal

Regular Season Totals: 78 Games, 17 Goals, 19 Assists, 36 Points

Playoff Totals: 14 Games Played, 1 Goal, 5 Points, 6 Assists

Contract Status: Signed through the end of the 2022-23 season

The 2021-22 campaign was a season of two different stories for the team's Captain. At the All-Star break he had just two goals in 40 games and was visibly frustrated with how things had gone. Then, in the second half, he exploded for 15 goals in 38 contests, trailing only Sebastian Aho for the most goals during the span. During the playoffs he was the team's most important forward, drawing the matchups against the lines of Patrice Bergeron and Mika Zibanejad and being the X-Factor in what allowed the Canes to win seven of their eight home games.

Staal even made a bit of history along the way, as amid his scorching April he set a new NHL record for most days in between hat tricks. It was also the 14th consecutive season that he received at least one vote for the Selke Trophy, the first player in history to reach such feat.

 

 

Derek Stepan

Regular Season Totals: 58 Games Played, 9 Goals, 10 Assists, 19 Points

Playoff Totals: 3 Games Played, 0 Games, 0 Assists, 0 Points

Contract Status: Pending Unrestricted Free Agent

Stepan signed with the Canes to provide depth down the middle for the lineup. What actually transpired was uncharted territory.

For the first time in his career he was in and out of the lineup, serving as a healthy extra forward on numerous occasions throughout the season. While it was undoubtedly frustrating for him, both his head coach and teammates raved about the professionalism that #18 carried himself with throughout.

To add another feather in his cap for the season, there were nine occasions in which Stepan was taken out of the lineup for one game or more. In the nine games that he drew back into the lineup, he was ready, producing six points.

 

 

Andrei Svechnikov

Regular Season Totals: 78 Games Played, 30 Goals, 39 Points, 69 Points

Playoff Totals: 14 Games, 4 Goals, 1 Assist, 5 Points

Contract Status: Signed through the end of the 2028-29 season

The team's 2018 first round pick took another step forward this regular season, publishing his first 30-goal year and a career-high 69 points. It's hard not to love the evolution of where Svechnikov's game is trending at this point in his career.

If there were one area to nitpick though, the 22-year-old also had a career-high 79 penalty minutes, leading all Canes forwards. But that snarl to his game is also what makes Svechnikov not only a sniper with the puck on his tape, but also a blossoming power forward, as Brind'Amour pointed out several times this season. His physical play changed the course of several games this season.

Where the next step will have to be taken for #37 is in the postseason. More was expected of him during the team's playoff run and while he was not alone, he didn't meet the required contributions - one portion of the team's ultimate shortcoming.

 

 

Teuvo Teravainen

Regular Season Totals: 77 Games Played, 22 Goals, 43 Assists, 65 Points

Playoff Totals: 14 Games Played, 4 Goals, 7 Assists, 11 Points

Contract Status: Signed through the end of the 2023-24 season

Already known as one of the better play-making wingers across the league, Teravainen had his second-best season, statistically, this year. Commonly playing alongside Sebastian Aho, #86 was a lock on the wing within the top six, possessing the ability to play on either the left or right side of the ice.

Leading the team with 31 power play points, the 27-year-old also shared the team lead in shorthanded points with Aho as well. The two were called upon to kill penalties over the course of the season, often generating offense along the way with the open ice.

While he is an elite passer, there were portions of the season where Teravainen was harped on for being too passive. Brind'Amour was always quick to say that he possesses a world-class shot, when he elected to use it. That truth was proven in the form of his 22 goals, which finished fourth on the team.

 

Video: BUF@CAR: Teravainen scores SHG in 3rd period

 

Vincent Trocheck

Regular Season Totals: 81 Games Played, 21 Goals, 30 Assists, 51 Points

Playoff Totals: 14 Games Played, 6 Goals, 4 Assists, 10 Points

Contract Status: Pending Unrestricted Free Agent

Anchored as the team's second line center, Trocheck was the fifth member of the club to reach the 20-goal mark this season. It was the fourth time in his career that he hit the number and first since the 2017-18 campaign.

After being acquired at the trade deadline in February of 2020, this was the first 82-game season in red, black and white for the right-handed forward, who produced his fourth career year of 50+ points. He was consistent throughout, missing just one game during the final week of the regular season for resting purposes. Along the way he played in his 500th career game, too.

Now, like Niederreiter, Trocheck was in a contract year and may have played his way into a big pay day, setting up an interesting summer ahead.

 


 

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