Two years after getting waived and eventually traded by the San Jose Sharks, Stefan Noesen has established himself as a bonafide NHL talent.
The 30-year-old forward is now a key contributor on a Carolina Hurricanes team that made the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
After spending the previous season with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, Noesen had 13 goals and 32 points in 78 games with eight points (four goals, four assists) in 15 playoff games.
“It hasn’t been easy,” Noesen said of his journey through the professional ranks, before he scored the game-tying goal in Carolina’s 6-3 comeback victory over San Jose on Tuesday night. “There have been a lot of ups and downs but a lot of hard work. I feel like the system I’m in right now suits my game and I am looking to stay in a system like this for a long time.”
There have been quite a few bumps in the road for the 2011 Ottawa Senators first-round pick.
Ever since making his NHL debut for the Anaheim Ducks in 2014-15, Noesen has been waived four times, claimed off waivers twice and traded once. He was claimed off waivers by the Sharks in Dec. 2019.
In that time, he played for five AHL teams and spent a lot of time on losing NHL teams.
That included two years with San Jose Sharks teams that finished in the bottom half of the Western Conference in 2019-20 and 2020-21 before he was sent down to the San Jose Barracuda and eventually traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“The system here sets up for my game,” Noesen said. “I don’t think I was used [by the Sharks] to the point where I thought I could be, especially in that shortened year. They weren’t really sure where they wanted to go, if they wanted to play their prospects or their older guys, so I got caught in limbo and miscommunication. I guess I was able to figure it out once I left here.”
Noesen has carved out quite a role for himself since arriving in Carolina.
He now sees significant power play time and has rewarded the Hurricanes for their faith in him with seven power play goals (third on the team) and 15 power play points (fifth on the team) since the start of the 2022-23 season.
Noesen is now a key contributor to a winning formula and he is having a lot of fun doing it.
“The standard here is to win and win at any cost,” Noesen said. “The way that we work goes from the top down. It’s not just the bottom-six guys, it’s also the top-six guys.
“We know what we’re gonna get with our bottom-six and our top-six are elite players and you know they are going to play the same way we do, so it’s good.”
Noesen’s game fits just that.
The 6-foot, 205-pound forward has been known to get pucks in the corners, help cycle pucks around the corners and screen the goalie near the front of the net.
And it has helped the Hurricanes’ power play continue to be one of the best in the league.
“The way that we’re doing our game and structure, it’s a stress game,” Noesen said.
“Getting pucks in the zone, out of the zone, forecheck. That’s my game. I’m not the fanciest guy in the world. Pretty meat and potatoes. A system that allows me to do that and establish my game is awesome.”
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