Jim Rutherford has been a busy man the last couple of days as he has now claimed 24-year old winger Andreas Nodl off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers. At first, I didn't think much of this move because Nodl appeared to be nothing more than a depth forward and I assumed the 11 goals and 22 points he had last season was a product of playing on a line with Mike Richards. However, when you dig deeper into Nodl's game you'll see how he can fit into the Hurricanes plans.
Nodl did play on Mike Richards line in Philly (before the addition of Kris Versteeg) but it's worth noting that he got a lot of defensive zone starts when playing with him. He also faced the 2nd toughest competition among forwards with the only player above him being Jeff Carter and managed to come out with a respectable corsi percentage despite that. He also finished the season with a corsi tied rate of .540 which is damn good for a defensive forward, so the fact that he can hold his own ground against tough competition makes him a welcome addition to this team.
He's only played in 11 games this year and has gotten off to a rough start but if he can play like he did last season, then he should be a great fit on the Hurricanes' third line with Brandon Sutter and Patrick Dwyer. Those two have been getting a boatload of defensive zone starts and are facing the opponent's top lines nightly and it would be nice to have another forward to play on that line to make things complete. Jiri Tlusty has been only okay in that role and Alexei Ponikarovsky is playing on the second line now. The fact that we're getting Nodl for next to nothing is a plus, too.
The one knock on Nodl's game is that he isn't much of a scorer and has a very limited offensive skillset but that shouldn't be too much of an issue if he's only counted on for defensive purposes. Although, Nodl had some puck luck go in his favor last year with an on-ice save percentage of .942 and a PDO of 1024 so he may have over-performed just a little bit. This is still a solid, low-risk move for the Canes who could definitely use another defensive forward right now. If he kills penalties well, beats out his competition and can add a little offense to the table then this is a steal for the Canes. If not, then we can always put him back on waivers. Low-risk, decent-reward.
For more information on Nodl, check out Broad Street Hockey's 2010-11 report card for him.