For the longest time, there has been nothing to cheer for in Carolina Hurricanes hockey. A lot has changed in that regard. This is now a team that is hungry for a Stanley Cup, and it has a fan base that is starving for a contender. The Hurricanes have enjoyed recent playoff success and becoming a perennial contender. After being one of the teams that have won the offseason, is it enough to put them over the top? The Carolina Hurricanes had a big offseason and should be better than last season.
Carolina Hurricanes Offseason Moves Set Up Team For Success
Ever since the former captain and now head coach Rod Brind’Amour hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2006, things were trending in the wrong direction. The team went on to miss the playoffs two years after winning and finally returned in 2009.
The team went ten straight years without making the playoffs. Carolina has now made the playoffs in four straight years. A young, but the ready team went to the Conference Finals in 2019. Despite falling short to the Boston Bruins, it showed this team was ready for that next step. For three straight seasons, the Carolina Hurricanes have suffered early exits which includes losing in the second round two years in a row.
After not being able to win a road game and falling short to the New York Rangers, changes were needed. It wasn’t very pleasant after finishing with 116 points and having the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes went on to make significant splashes this offseason, and it should translate into better playoff success. But will these additions result in a Stanley Cup?
Hurricanes Team Outlook
The Hurricanes have an excellent hockey team. They boast one of the best goaltending tandems in the league with Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta. The duo went on to win the William Jennings Trophy, allowing the fewest goals.
The defensive system for the Hurricanes is as good as anyone. During the 2021-22 season, they averaged 2.44 goals against per game which ranked first in the league. The team also boasted the league’s best penalty kill, which had a success rate of 88%. Scoring on Carolina is difficult, and they tend to smother their opponents.
History 🚫 pic.twitter.com/8vvGQhNbFM
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) July 2, 2022
The forward group is special. It has young impactful talent, which consists of Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Terravainen, Seth Jarvis, and Martin Necas (willing he signs). This team ranked 8th in the league in goals for with 193 and averaged 3.38 goals for per game which was good for 9th in the league. The Hurricanes finished second in possession, owning a Corsi For Percentage at 56.21%. They also had the third-best Goals Percentage with 57.78%. If you got chances against this team, you better have made them count.
This Hurricanes team is not only fun to watch, but they are a great team. They have a great core, and you would think with how well they played statistically, something would be shown for it.
The Hurricanes Offseason
With every exit comes changes. They wasted no time and got to work. The Carolina Hurricanes had a massive offseason. At the draft, the team traded Tony DeAngelo to the Philadelphia Flyers for a haul of draft picks. DeAngelo was playing on a 1 million dollar contract, and after the season he displayed, a raise was coming. For the second season in a row, a top offensive defenceman was needed.
Management got to work and brought in Brent Burns from the San Jose Sharks. Burns had a better season statistically than DeAngelo. In all 82 games, he scored 10 goals, 44 assists, and 54 points. That was three higher than DeAngelo. Burns is a big defenceman who not only loves to shoot the puck (203 shots on goal) but also is capable of using his big frame to block shots (150). Burns is a veteran puck-moving defenceman who is great in the transition of off the rush and also logs big minutes. He played the most minutes in 2021-22. Good luck getting through to him and possible partner Jaccob Slavin.
Here are Burns' microstats from the 2021-22 season: pic.twitter.com/QJ9ec3Twyt
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 13, 2022
You would think a team that boasts solid scoring would not need more, but they added that. The Hurricanes acquired Max Pacioretty from the Vegas Golden Knights. A pure cap dump move now benefits the Hurricanes. Pacioretty is a pure goal scorer and has scored 323 times in 850 games played. He also has hit the 30-goal mark six times in his career. The Hurricanes wanted more offence and they got it. Pacioretty is a natural finisher and is the star winger this team needs going forward. The team also received young blue liner Dylan Coghlan in a trade deal.
Max Pacioretty, acquired by CAR for literally nothing, is one of the league's elite snipers, a high-end creator of scoring chances who's consistently excellent at finishing them. #LetsGoCanes pic.twitter.com/49GmACTwG0
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 13, 2022
However, with all the positive changes, there come negative ones. The team lost two key players in Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter. Trocheck signed a big deal with the New York Rangers while Niedereitter went to the Music City to the Nashville Predators. Big shoes to fill, especially at the second-line centre position.
This Offseason Might Win The Cup
The Carolina Hurricanes are a better team than they were a season ago. The back end is in better shape, and Burns is an upgrade over DeAngelo. Up front, the Hurricanes got more deadly and should be an absolute scoring machine. Despite losing Trocheck, the shoe can be filled with either Martin Necas or Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Both are young and looking to take that next step in their career. They have the elite wingers to play with and will be set up for success. The net is solidified and as long as they are healthy, this team is in great shape.
They had a great offseason and will be ready to avenge their defeat and get over the hump. This team is better and should be able to get over the hurdle.