Let’s just come out and say it: The Carolina Hurricanes are going to need a complete overhaul – they haven’t seen the light of the playoffs in six long seasons, and no one in the organization has high expectations for this season, either. But, the big overhaul is coming from the team vibe.
Their offence definitely needs to improve if they want to dig themselves out of the bottom of the Eastern Conference, and a few roster tweaks prove that the team hasn’t yet lost all hope.
Last season, the ‘Canes ranked a dismal 29th in the NHL in shooting percentage – clearly, 7.2% isn’t going to cut it. Brothers Eric and Jordan Staal along with Jeff Skinner saw their point totals take a dip, too. The combined for 155 points in 2013-14, but ended last season’s campaign with a group total of almost 40 less, 109. Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom were huge additions from a September 11 trade with the Chicago Blackhawks, and Versteeg will replace Alexander Semin and take on a key role in the Hurricanes’ offence. Ultimately, though, it all comes down to one thing: more all-around production. The group of forwards will likely take shape with these lines:
E. Staal – Rask – Lindholm
Skinner – J. Staal – Versteeg
Terry – Nash – Nestrasil
Gerbe – McClement – Malone
Puck-moving defencemen seems to be Carolina’s players of choice. Justin Faulk, the 23 year old in his fourth NHL season, will see himself continue to grow into a staple as part of the ‘Canes defensive corps. James Wisniewski, acquired from the Ducks last june, will also bring a mobility and veteran presence to the Hurricanes’ blue line. Defensive pairings will likely be:
Hainsey – Faulk
Hanifin – Wisniewski
Liles – Murphy
Cam Ward, who won a Stanley Cup with the ‘Canes what feels like forever ago, will be backed up by Eddie Lack, a Swedish goalie acquired from the Vancouver Canucks days before July 1. On October 3rd, 2015 the Canes signed Goalie Eddie Lack to a two year extension which will pay him $2.5 million for 2016-17 and $3 million for the 2017-18 NHL season.
Needless to say, it’s unlikely that the Carolina Hurricanes will make the playoffs this season, but they’re definitely on the rebuild – and things may just start to look up. Finally.