I’d like to start this article by disclaiming that I have zero bias towards the Canes, but god does their plethora of young talent look fantastic in the coming years. Their D core, starting with the young Jaccob Slavin (From Denver, not Siberia as his name suggests) in his first full season in the NHL demonstrated his skill and versatility as a top pairing defenseman.
Slavin has the potential to grow as a player as he has already made huge strides at the NHL level. He provides both size and physicality to the position, and playing first line minutes. Slavin led the Canes in plus minus at +23, while the majority of the team averaged much below even. Faulk, Hanifin and Hainsey struggled in goal differential landing at -18,-19 and -16 respectively. Slavin also averaged the most playing time among D men on the Canes sitting at a casual 23 minutes per game. Think indicates his presence on the PP and the PK. He had 8 Special teams points, 4 on the PP and 4 on the PK. Guy is an absolute weapon. Remember that hat-trick he scored in March were he absolutely dummied the New York Islanders, recording 4 points in the outing. He also recorded 161 blocks this season, placing him at 11th among all players.
In terms of his peripheral stats, Slavin is incredibly efficient on defense with his Corsi sitting above 50%, putting him in the top 20 for defenseman among the league. While I know Corsi isn’t everything, his plus minus especially in relation to his teammates is staggering. He pairs with Brett Pesce who seemed to be the stay at home D between the two. Considering he has one year left on his entry level contract he has made massive strides towards earning himself not only a massive contract, but #1 minutes among a stacked Canes defense.
Slavin finds himself in an excellent opportunity on the Canes as he can learn from veteran, and fellow American Justin Faulk. He also accompanies a number of young D men with massive potential on the young team. While sitting in the dangerous Metropolitan division, the Canes are unlikely to make a playoff push within the next season, their outlook for the future looks fantastic. Aho, Skinner, Pesce and Slavin all represent the future of the franchise.