Understanding Carter Verhaeghe’s offensive manufacturing forward of the Panthers’ homestand
Wednesday marks the start of a five-game homestand for the Florida Panthers, who’ve solely performed 4 of their 13 video games at FLA Live Arena thus far this season.
The Panthers will look to the dependable offensive prowess of Carter Verhaeghe to assist set the tone for the following week-and-a-half. On Florida’s four-game street journey to the West Coast, he had 4 targets and two assists and recorded at the least one level in six of the Panthers’ previous seven video games.
Florida will play the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday, then Saturday towards the Edmonton Oilers, Nov. 15 towards the Washington Capitals, Nov. 17 towards the Dallas Stars and Nov. 19 towards the Calgary Flames.
With Matthew Tkachuk nonetheless suspended for poking his stick into Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick’s masks, Verhaeghe will assume much more accountability, notably within the midweek competitors.
Verhaeghe’s eight targets (which lead Florida and are tied for sixth within the NHL) come off 35 shot makes an attempt for a team-leading taking pictures proportion of twenty-two.9 p.c. He most not too long ago discovered the again of the online within the first interval and assisted Sam Reinhart’s empty-net purpose within the third interval of Florida’s 5-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. Five of Verhaeghe’s eight targets have opened scoring in a recreation (Oct. 19 versus Philly; Oct. 29 towards Ottawa, Sunday at Anaheim) or tied the sport (Thursday towards San Jose, Saturday at Los Angeles).
“It’s elite and it’s highly unusual,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice stated of Verhaeghe’s shot. “… It comes off his stick before you think it’s going to.”
Maurice in contrast Verhaeghe to Kyle Connor, who had 47 targets final season and 4 30-plus purpose seasons beneath Maurice in Winnipeg with the Jets.
Verhaeghe scored a career-high 24 targets within the 2021-2022 season. But by means of 13 video games this 12 months, he’s on tempo to greater than double his private finest. His 13 factors sit solely behind Tkachuk’s 17 on the Panthers.
“We have strived for him to understand that he’s a shooter and to embrace that,” Maurice stated when requested what appears to be the driving pressure in Verhaeghe’s uptick in manufacturing this season. “…He has to have a primary driver for what he does for a living when he shoots the puck. So he shoots the puck a little bit more. And he scores. So that just gets more shots, right? Well, it’s OK. The guys don’t mind if I shoot, and I’m scoring. It’s OK if I shoot then.”
Before Tkachuk’s suspension, he, Verhaeghe and Aleksander Barkov occupied Florida’s high line. They performed 65 1/2 minutes collectively in 5-on-5 play by means of 12 video games and have outscored opponents 8-1 when all three are on the ice collectively — far exceeding their anticipated targets for (5.56) and anticipated targets towards (2.09), according to the advanced hockey statistics website Natural Stat Trick. When Barkov and Verhaeghe have been on the ice collectively with out Tkachuk, they’ve been outscored 4-2 over 86:24, regardless of their anticipated purpose charges being almost equal (3.6 anticipated targets for in comparison with 3.69 anticipated targets towards).
“It feels like every time we’re on the ice, we’re playing in the offensive zone and making plays and getting chances,” Verhaeghe stated of the road’s chemistry earlier than Tkachuk’s suspension. “Those two are a lot of fun to play with.
“[Tkachuk] brings such a different element to the game. He makes plays. He’s gritty. He gets to the front of the net. He opens up a ton of space. Both guys I’m playing with are great. I’m lucky.”
Colin White took Tkachuk’s spot on the precise wing of Florida’s high line Sunday, whereas Verhaeghe assumed Tkachuk’s position within the high power-play unit.
Right winger Patric Hornqvist (higher physique) and defenseman Aaron Ekblad (decrease physique) participated in Panthers apply Tuesday morning. Maurice stated Ekblad ought to be again within the lineup Saturday for Florida’s recreation towards Edmonton
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