*Update – Slavin had an assist taken away after this article was published and finished Game 3 of this series with 11 points.
For some hockey fans, they are getting their first taste just how good Jaccob Slavin is. Truth be told, he’s been elite for a few years. Hidden away in small market Carolina, Slavin has quietly become one of the most complete defensemen in the NHL and his skills have been on full display in these playoffs.The 26:40 of ice-time he’s averaged through 10 games ranks 4th overall. Offensively, Slavin is tied for the playoff lead in points with 12 – all assists. Defensively, he’s impacting the game in a number of key areas. Slavin has long had one of the best defensive sticks in the NHL, ranking top-10 in stick checks and blocked passes in each of the last 3 seasons.
Slavin took multiple ‘Grade A’ scoring chances away from the Islanders in Game 3 by getting his stick in passing lanes. He finished with a game-high 6 blocked passes in the defensive zone and 8 in total.
A former teammate of Slavin’s told me he’s pretty much impossible to get around 1-on-1 and does an excellent job batting pucks out of the air. Slavin’s elite hand-eye coordination is a big reason he’s able to be as effective as he is with his stick. In these playoffs, he’s already blocked a total of 102 passes, 2nd only to Brent Burns. When he has the puck, Slavin is creating a ton of offense and when he doesn’t, he’s taking chances away from the opposition. With the Hurricanes one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals, the stage may get even bigger for a star player who is starting to get the national attention he’s deserved for quite some time.
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)