Joni Pitkanen, who is finally healthy, is playing very well for the Hurricanes this season.
The talented rearguard, who missed 52 games last season due to a concussion and knee surgery, has been Carolina's best defenseman thus far. Pitkanen is anchoring the team's power-play and playing over 25 minutes per game. Canes' coach Kirk Muller has certainly been impressed with Pitkanen. "I think he can be up there among the top six defensemen," Muller said. "He has the capability to be out there to kill penalties, quarterback the power play, be out there in all critical situations, like you need your No. 1 defenseman to be. Because of his skating ability, he covers a lot of space out there. And he's a big guy. That allows him to log a lot of minutes." Perhaps this is the season Pitkanen can actually produce at a .5 point per game pace.