Micheal Ferland signing in Vancouver meant that Carolina would have a roster spot to fill, be it internally or externally. They decided to go with the external route by signing free agent Ryan Dzingel to a two-year deal with an average annual value just a bit under $3.4M.
The 27-year old winger had a career-year in 2018-19 with 26 goals and 56 assists. It was his second consecutive season with at least 20 goals.
What Carolina gets
Over the last two seasons in Ottawa, both 20-goal campaigns, Dzingel has played with at least one of Matt Duchene or Mark Stone for about 1170 minutes at five-on-five out of roughly 1926 minutes, or 60.7 percent. That is a lot of time spent with either a top-tier offensive centre, arguably the second-best right winger in the NHL, or both.
There is no doubt that cushy slotting helped him but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad player. More like he needs the right teammates to optimize his skills. Dzingel is not a very good player defensively, for example (from Evolving Hockey):
It’s an interesting contrast for the Hurricanes. Dzingel isn’t a player who is good defensively and he’s not a player who shoots in volume. Rather, he’s a pretty one-track player, and that one track is finishing ability; over his 268 career games, more than three seasons’ worth, he’s shot an even 15 percent at all strengths. Whether Duchene and Stone helped him get to 26 goals or not, he had shown prior to 2018-19, both in the top-6 and bottom-6, that he has the ability to put the puck in the net. For a Carolina forward, that’s been a rarity more often than not over the last, say, seven years.
The issue is where he slots. As of right now, Teuvo Teravainen, Nino Niederreiter, Jordan Martinook, Andrei Svechnikov, Brock McGinn (still RFA), and Warren Foegele are all left-handed shots. The only right-handed winger Carolina had last year was Justin Williams, and they haven’t added any this offseason. Martin Necas is a right-handed shot, and the addition of Erik Haula makes it likely that Necas slots on the right wing if he’s with the big club in 2019-20. But on which line? And where do the left shots fit in?
Maybe Dzingel slots on the top line with Aho and Teravainen, and those three form a pretty solid scoring unit. Or maybe Dzingel is dropped down the lineup to play on either side of Haula in some sort of hybrid checking/scoring line. Or maybe they (for some unknown reason) use him with Jordan Staal in a checking role. My best guess right now is that he starts on the third line with Haula.
Regardless, when looking around at comparable signings this summer (Tanev for six years, Ferland for four), Dzingel’s two years and reasonable AAV make this contract more than worth it, even if it doesn’t work out as we hope. Dzingel’s proven he can score if he’s put with the right players and that’s exactly the type of player the ‘Canes need.
I don’t expect a repeat of 2018-19, but he won’t fall off the map. Something close to his 2017-18 scoring line (23 goals, 18 assists) makes sense.
Beware of the type of league readers draft him. He is not a volume shooter, he doesn’t provide other peripherals, and he’s unlikely to be a power play monster. In roto leagues, he’s empty production. This is more of a target for points-only leagues.
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