Tracking the Storm

Joslin Getting Big Minutes on Blue Line

Sunday, 03.20.2011 / 6:55 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
X
Share with your Friends


Joslin Getting Big Minutes on Blue Line
A little over a week ago, Derek Joslin wasn’t playing. Now, he’s getting about all the minutes he can handle.

The Hurricanes’ defenseman, who turned 24 on St. Patrick’s Day, has set new career highs in minutes played in each of his last two contests. He had never hit the 20-minute mark in the NHL before playing 20:36 against the Toronto Maple Leafs last Wednesday. He followed that up with 22:39 in the team’s overtime win against the New York Islanders two days later.

Paul Branecky
Follow on Twitter

Not bad for a player who had been a healthy scratch for the first five games of March.

“I always knew I could do it at this level,” said Joslin. “I just needed someone to give me that opportunity.”

The majority of his minutes have been good ones. Joslin, acquired from the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 18, has yet to post a negative plus/minus rating in any game as a Hurricane, with an overall rating of plus-6 in just seven games of work. He’s shown a willingness to mix it up with the opposition and play physical in front his net, and has even chipped in 3 assists since joining the team.

“He blocks shots, he’s a big body at five-on-five and he gets the puck through pretty good on the power play,” said coach Paul Maurice. “We’re pretty happy with him, and he’ll only get better.”

Joslin’s increased minutes came with his increased role on special teams. He would occasionally kill penalties with the Sharks, but had never before played on an NHL power play until the Hurricanes began using him there last week. While his primary goal will still be preventing goals, he may be becoming more of a two-way threat than previously given credit for.

“He’s showing signs as a young defenseman that he can move and move with the puck,” said Maurice. “If he has a little offensive upside that would be good too, but we really like what we’ve seen so far.”

Joslin’s strong play ever since he arrived on a red-eye flight from San Jose to make his debut on two hours sleep made his removal from the everyday lineup somewhat difficult. When the Hurricanes acquired Bryan Allen, his current defensive partner, in a trade with Florida, Joslin became the seventh defenseman on a team that dresses six. He wouldn’t get back in until Jamie McBain, the only defenseman on the team younger than Joslin, suffered a shoulder injury in Washington on March 11.

“It is frustrating, but as a young guy you go through the ropes,” said Joslin of watching games rather than playing them. “I knew it was a numbers game and that Bryan Allen is a veteran who helps this team tremendously.”

“We just kept saying the same thing to him,” said Maurice. “‘We like you and we like your play on such a short sample of games.’ He worked hard, never complained, put himself in a position to play well and would make it a very difficult decision if we had to take somebody else out to put McBain back in.”

That decision may occur much sooner than expected. Originally given a 3-4 week timeline that would have had him questionable to return by the end of the regular season, McBain practiced with the team on Sunday and, although he hasn’t been cleared for contact and didn’t attempt any hard shots, looks to be healing more quickly than anticipated.

“It’s one or two weeks ahead of what we had projected,” said McBain. “It’s just good to get out there, and there was progress even in practice with learning how much pressure I was able to put on the puck.”

“He’s probably on the early part of his curve,” said Maurice. “He’s probably closer to two (weeks) than three, but before he goes back in the lineup he’s still got a lot of work to do.”

If McBain is cleared to play and the Hurricanes decide to use him, there won’t be any clear choice as to which defenseman might exit the lineup to make room. It could very well end up being Joslin once again, although the Canes could elect to dress all seven of their quality blue liners.

Whatever happens, Joslin, as he has been throughout his NHL career, will be prepared for it.

“I’ve gone through it all year,” he said. “When your number is called, you’ve got to be able to perform. I have to play every game like it’s my last.”


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72