The Florida Panthers were able to snag Carter Verhaeghe from free agency, and it was at a bargain price. The second-year forward has started to grow into his own. Stuck battling for a roster spot on an incredibly stacked Tampa Bay Lightning team; all Carter ever needed was a full-time roster spot to prove he is more than capable of becoming an NHL star.
Carter Verhaeghe is a Hidden Talent
After battling his way from the East Coast Hockey League, Carter Verhaeghe finally found himself an NHL home down in Sunrise, Florida. As a first-time member of the Panthers, Verhaeghe has gelled well with this team. So well, he is third on the team in points before the start of their Sunday matchup against the Dallas Stars. With 15 goals and 13 assists through the first 34 games, Carter Verhaeghe is a true hidden gem within the National Hockey League.
Since signing a two-year contract at $1 million per year this past offseason, it’s safe to say that Verhaeghe is the best deal in the National Hockey League right now. Since joining the Panthers, Verhaeghe has turned into a completely different player. Not that he wasn’t already a very skilled forward. Now that he has been put in the proper situation to shine, he will never look back. Ranking third on the team in points and first in goals, Verhaeghe was meant for a first-line role for quite some time now. Thanks to HockeyViz.com, you can truly see how good a player he has been this whole time.
Only 87 career games and he jumped like that?!? Imagine him with a few more years of experience under his belt. He has plenty of time to continue to mature and develop. Panthers’ fans everywhere could not ask for a better start from their new star forward. The only question left to answer is how do they use Verhaeghe more?
Carter Verhaeghe’s Time to Shine
Now that the Panthers will be without three significant players, this is the perfect opportunity for Verhaeghe to continue to prove that Tampa Bay should never have given up on him. With Aaron Ekblad Stretched off the ice last night, Patric Hornqvist injured, and Aleksander Barkov still has no valid timetable for a return. All eyes will look to Verhaeghe to lead the charge for the “Cats.” If the Panthers can make it through this stretch without critical players like those mentioned above, then no one will be stopping them come playoff time.
Moving along, it is not only Verhaghes production numbers that set him apart from the rest. His underlying numbers prove he is a genuine threat every time he’s on the ice. Leading the team in shooting percentage at 18.3 percent, it’s no wonder he is also the leading goal scorer on the team. He is second on the team in Corsi For Percentage at 57.1 percent. To go along with the best PDO, 102.2, on the team with at least 30 games played. With numbers like these, he is capable of taking control of any game he is in. The best part about the addition of Carter Verhaeghe is that he scores AND plays defence. With fans and analysts everywhere worried about how the team would replace Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov‘s scoring touch. They did it while getting someone who isn’t a liability in the defensive zone.
While it would be nice to see him get more time on the power-play, Verhaeghe’s impact has been overall phenomenal. He’s productive in the offensive zone, responsible in the defensive zone, a team player, and a true hidden gem within the world of hockey.