Skip to content

It’s Carolina Hurricanes day on PHT

Aug 16, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

Jiri Tlusty, Eric Staal, Andrei Loktionov AP

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Carolina Hurricanes.

In some ways, the Carolina Hurricanes’ offseason mirrored that of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team that employs their former GM Jim Rutherford and enjoyed peak years with Carolina’s current GM Ron Francis.

While the Hurricanes haven’t enjoyed anywhere near the same success as the Penguins, both teams decided to make big philosophical changes by canning their head coaches and general managers. In the case of Carolina, they plucked first-time NHL head coach Bill Peters from the Detroit Red Wings organization to go with Francis.

The Hurricanes finished the 2013-14 season with a 36-35-11 record for 83 points, good for second-to-last in the Metropolitan Division. Thanks to that substandard finish, the Hurricanes nabbed Haydn Fleury with the seventh pick of the 2014 NHL Draft.

Despite that middling record, some nice talent (on paper) inspires at least a hint of optimism that Peters and Francis can right the ship.

Getting healthier seasons from Alexander Semin and Jeff Skinner while finding ways to best utilize Eric and Jordan Staal would go a long way toward improving Carolina’s outlook. If Peters can find clever ways to mask what seems like a very shaky defense on paper, even better.

The other important factor is handling the goaltending situation properly. Anton Khudobin massively out-played Cam Ward last season, but the team hints at a platoon for an understandable enough reason: Khudobin is still fairly inexperienced and Ward’s trade value could use some improvement. Still, if Khudobin contiunes to provide starkly better netminding, the franchise will need to face tough questions about Ward (especially after opting against a costly-but-justifiable buyout).

The Hurricanes are a flawed team, yet there’s enough talent on the roster to envision a scrappy run to a playoff spot. Then again, another mediocre season is just as likely.

It all makes for an interesting team to ponder on Saturday, so let’s have at it.

  1. lowenni - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    Bad team. Bad offseason. Not enough character or depth. Bad GM. Don’t know why he thought standing pat in the offseason was smart when the team last year clearly just wasn’t good enough. Eric Stall needs to rebound and be the player he can be and lead, Semin needs to be the player he can be, Skinner needs to be the player he can be, Jordan Staal needs to be the player he can be…do you see a pattern here on offense? The team looked like they didn’t care at times and had no confidence, and that on a team that isn’t very good is a bad combination. The team badly needs a shakeup, and maybe even a bit of a rebuild now. On positive notes, I like Khudobin’s chances of becoming a really good goalie in this league. Sekera was awesome for them last year and the top pair of him and Faulk is more than playoff-calibre. Few dependable guys behind them but may need some improvement there. Hurricanes fans, be ready for a rough year.

Featured video

More than a Stanley Cup hangover?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (4027)
  2. B. Bishop (3219)
  3. D. Krejci (2535)
  4. C. Crawford (2466)
  5. C. Kunitz (2274)
  1. O. Palat (2071)
  2. C. Perry (2058)
  3. B. Elliott (1932)
  4. T. Oshie (1832)
  5. T. Hall (1586)