Tracking the Storm

Brent on the Hunt

Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 2:50 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Brent on the Hunt

Tim Brent made the move from Toronto to Raleigh this off-season when he signed a two-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes as a free agent. In the last two games, he’s made another move – from fourth line center to third line center.

Michael Smith
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As Brandon Sutter has slid up to center Chad LaRose and Eric Staal, Brent has been called upon to play the traditional shutdown role with linemates Alexei Ponikarovsky and Patrick Dwyer. It’s a role that seen him take on more minutes and a stronger offensive opposition (at least at home when the Canes get the last change), but that’s a challenge that Brent welcomes.

“I’m starting to get in a little bit of a comfort zone now, but you never want to get too comfortable,” he said. “There’s always an adjustment period when you go to a new team.”

When he’s not on the ice, Brent does get comfortable in tree stands in the woods – that’s where he shot an 8-point deer a few weeks ago. Hunting is a hobby of his, and one that is well-suited in this area, which has made the adjustment that much easier.

“[The area] goes well with what I enjoy doing,” he said. “I’ve seen deer every time I’ve been out, and I just enjoy being in the woods.”

While he’s been hunting, he’s yet to take his new boat for a fishing trip, something Zac Dalpe has been seen asking about on Twitter.

“I haven’t even had the chance to put it in the water, which is a sin, almost,” Brent said. “Brand new boat like that sitting there. I go out and sit in the driver’s seat and pretend.”

Back on the ice, Brent was brought in this off-season to be a steady fourth line center; he’s strong in the face-off circle (averaged 52 percent last season with Toronto) and is a reliable penalty killer. But that isn’t all to Brent’s game.

“Tim comes from a history where there was some offense to his game as well,” head coach Paul Maurice said.

At the American Hockey League level, Brent saw tremendous success on the scoresheet. In 2007-08 with the Wikes-Barre Scranton Penguins, he led the team in assists (43) and points (61). In 2008-09 with the Rockford IceHogs, he picked up where he left off in recording a team-high 42 assists, 62 points and 4 shorthanded goals.

Last season was his first full season in the NHL; in years prior, he saw one or two games, but last season he played 79 games for the Maple Leafs. He recorded 20 points (8g, 12a), 3 (2g, 1a) of those which game against the Canes on January 24.

“I’ve been a guy that’s played 20 minutes, and then I’ve been a guy that’s played four for five,” he said. “I’ve gotten to see both ends of the spectrum. I can sympathize with and understand what guys are going through when they play those four minutes.

“You kind of have to amp yourself up every time you go over the boards when you’re playing a short amount of minutes. You don’t want to make a mistake,” he said.

This season, Brent’s ice time has hovered between six and nine minutes. He’s recently pushed double digits on the third line. He’s also seen his face-off percentage improve as of late. According to Jim Rutherford, Brent was fighting a wrist injury earlier in the season that impacted his draws.

“He’s a little quicker now, he’s back winning face-offs and he’s confident,” Maurice said. “Confidence makes a big difference.”

Maurice also has confidence in Brent to perform well in the third line shutdown role. It’s a challenge that Brent has enjoyed taking on through two games. It keeps him on his toes. And for an outdoorsman, that seems to fit him well.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 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