The ‘Canes disappointing season is coming to an end. Even with a season of mostly negatives, ‘Canes fans have positive spots in the teams diminished lineup that they should love. One of those lovely spots is the continued success of the Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, and Elias Lindholm meshing on the top line. Bill Peters has been notorious for changing up his forward lines during practices and games this season. The changes are understandable for a team looking to find its identity, but moving forward the Staal brothers and Elias Lindholm need to play together.
Numbers Behind the Lines
This season has shown the ‘Canes ability, or lack thereof, to consistently score goals. Without begin an NHL stat-head its easy to understand why teams need a consistent offensive line. So far this season the Elias Lindholm, Jordan Staal, and Eric Staal line has combined for 15 even strength points. Two lines have combined for more points and one of those lines was the Staal brothers and Jiri Tlusty. That line contributed 16 even strength points, but Tlusty was traded at the deadline. The best even strength line for the ‘Canes this year has been Patrick Dwyer, Jay McClement, and Brad Malone who have combined for 23-points. That line is the ‘Canes fourth line, and it is time for the ‘Canes to find a top line that can stay together for an extended period. Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, and Elias Lindholm is that top line moving forward.
Why the ‘Canes Should Keep Them Together
The ‘Canes are trying to find their identity as a team late in the season. Elias Lindholm is showing the talents that he can bring to the NHL, and against the Flyers he showed why he fits perfectly with the Staal brothers. Lindholm has a lot of skill, and the best way to bring that skill out is to put him with other established players in the game. Against the Flyers, Jordan Staal put a decent shot on net, and Lindholm buried the rebound for his 17-goal of the season. The Staal brothers and Lindholm were flying around against the Flyers. Whenever they were on the ice the Flyers defense was on their heels, and the lines chemistry was clear. The three forwards combined for 9 of the 26 total shots for the ‘Canes. Lindholm is showing chemistry on the line with the Staal brothers, so why change something that works? Bill Peters spoke after the game about making team changes going into next season. Changes are definitely needed, but one thing that needs to stay the same is this line.
Moving Forward With Talented Forwards
The season is basically over for the ‘Canes. They take on the Buffalo Sabres Monday night in a game without any playoff implications. The ‘Canes goal moving forward is to get themselves into a position to battle for the playoffs every year. Their successful months this season show they are closer than some fans may think. The ‘Canes have talented forwards they can build with. Elias Lindholm is close to doubling his points from last season, and watching him play with the Staal’s really brings out his talent. Lindholm can really fit on any line on this ‘Canes team but having him play with the Staal brothers is just a joy to watch.
EStaal-JStaal-Lindholm is a lot of fun to watch
— Andrew Hirsh (@andrewhirsh) April 4, 2015
With all three of those players healthy to end this season the ‘Canes should keep that as their top line moving forward. Without looking at stats, an eye test really shows how well these three play together. They give the ‘Canes a force in the offensive zone, and aren’t to shabby in the defensive zone either. The strengths of all three players are on display when they are on the ice together. After the Flyers win, Bill Peters commented on the line. His response shows ‘Canes fans that they have a future line that can give the fan base hope.
Philip is a Sports Journalist covering the Pittsburgh Penguins. Duquesne University Journalism Grad 2013.