The Carolina Hurricanes have been playing average hockey as of late with a 5-4-1 record in their last 10 games (32-21-3 overall). They are four points back of the 2nd wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference currently held by the Philadelphia Flyers, however, the Canes have two games in hand.
The Hurricanes season changed the night of January 16th,2020, when all-star defenseman Dougie Hamilton suffered a potentially season-ending injury. Due to this, GM Don Waddell has expressed interest in multiple available defensemen, including the Sharks’ Brenden Dillon, Minnesota’s Matt Dumba, and New Jersey’s Damon Severson. Waddell has made it clear he is willing to part with the team’s 2020 1st round pick, as they have an extra one from agreeing to take on Patrick Marleau’s salary from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for their 2020 1st.
Elite right-shot defensemen are difficult to come by, and a recent article suggested the Wild’s asking price on Dumba is an NHL caliber center, a 1st round pick, and a prospect. At 25-years of age, Matt Dumba has an impressive positive career AB score at a +0.20 score over a 5-year sample size. He has a solid giveaway/takeaway ratio for a defenseman at 28:18. He also has an equally impressive penalty drawn/taken ratio, with a 14:11. Dumba is playing 3 minutes more per game than his previous career average of 19:51 minutes per night. However, he is -6 on the season. Damon Severson is 25-years of age, with the worst career AB score of the available New Jersey defensemen. Severson has a -5.87 score over a 4-year period, never registering a positive season in that span. He is coming off a career-low -8.39 individual score as well. Severson has a decent penalty drawn to taken ratio at 12:6, but the second-worst giveaway/takeaway ratio on the team with a 44:27 ratio. Like fellow Devils available defenseman P.K. Subban, Severson is also -15 on the season. Brenden Dillon is a 29-year-old, left-shot defenseman making a tad under $3.5 million this season. He is coming off his highest career AB performance of -0.49 last season since 2013-14, which is his only positive season to date. His career AB score is respectable for a defenseman at -2.74. This year, however, he is struggling mightily on the penalty front. He is tied with Evander Kane for the most penalties taken on the Sharks this season with 21, however, Kane has drawn 5 more penalties than Dillon. For a defenseman, Dillon’s takeaway/giveaway ratio is solid at 12/21, which is even more impressive given the fact that he plays over 19 minutes per game. The fact that he is only -1 on this team is another impressive statistic, given that Erik Karlsson is -14, and Brent Burns is -23.
All of the above defensemen are better than the one they acquired in the Justin Faulk trade before the start of this season, as Joel Edmundson hasn’t been the greatest addition. Edmundson has a pretty negative career AB-score at -3.19 and is coming off a career-low -4.66 last season. He has never registered a positive AB season in his career. He has a penalty taken/drawn ratio of 21:10, which isn’t great, and an equally unimpressive giveaway/takeaway ratio of 36:21. Edmundson is playing one second less than his career average of 18:12 per game and has a decent +5 +/- this season. He is an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this season, and perhaps Don Waddell could package him with the 2020 1st to improve his defense group. It’ll definitely be interesting to see what Waddell and his group decide to do at the February 24th trade deadline, as he attempts to help his team reach the Eastern Conference Finals for the second consecutive season. More to come.