Who doesn’t love a reunion? When the Hurricanes host the Blackhawks on Saturday night, it’ll be a chance to run into a bunch of players who left Chicago in recent years. With that mind, let’s check in and see how each one is doing this season.
Darling, who will start Saturday night against his former team for the first time, has had an up-and-down start to his career with the Hurricanes. Through 10 starts, he had a .910 save percentage, down from his .923 during his three years with the Blackhawks. The good news, at least for him, is that he’s made 53 saves on 55 shots (.964) over the past two games. Maybe he’s settling in for good.
Teravainen has never developed into the star scorer some projected out of the draft, but he’s established himself as one of the Hurricanes’ key players with nine points in 14 games. He’s stellar at driving possession, and leads the team in Game Score per 60 minutes, according to Corsica. He might have his detractors around here, but Teravainen has developed into a very good player the Blackhawks would kill to have back.
Nordstrom is off to a rough start on the Hurricanes’ fourth line this season. He has just three points in 14 games and the lowest Game Score per 60 minutes of anyone on the team. He’s been Carolina’s worst player, and may end up getting bumped from the lineup if things don’t improve.
Kruger is doing his usual thing in Carolina: driving possession (plus-4.3 percent Corsi Relative) and producing little to no offense (one assist in 14 games). I can’t help but wonder whether the Hurricanes would be better off pushing Kruger into an even more challenging role, similar to his usage in Chicago, in order to free up easier minutes for their star scorers. Kruger had been taking 71-81 percent of his zone starts on the defensive end during his last four years with the Hawks. He’s at 51.4 percent this season. Kruger is a true specialist, and the Hurricanes would be better served using him that way.
Trevor van Riemsdyk
The Hurricanes don’t use TVR nearly as much as the Blackhawks did because their top four of Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, and Noah Hanifin is so good. He’s been serviceable logging solid third-pairing minutes, but it’s not like his absence has really crushed the Hawks, whose problem is more about high-level talent than depth.