Despite missing the Stanley Cup playoffs for the eighth straight season in 2017/18, the Carolina Hurricanes had a rather successful summer making major upgrades to improve their team.
General manager Ron Francis brought in four Stanley Cup champions, which should vastly improve the roster and give the Hurricanes the depth they did not have in years past.
This team is definitely heading in the right direction as they have several young players emerging along with a good mix of veterans scattered across the lineup. Despite their minimal exposure around the NHL, the Carolina Hurricanes might be one of the best-kept secrets in the league with the ability to surprise many people.
Heading into 2017/18, the Carolina Hurricanes have the ability to finally break their eight-year playoff drought and take big steps forward.
Scott Darling (G)
In late April, Scott Darling’s rights were acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a third round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. Later in May, the Hurricanes signed Darling to a four-year deal worth $16,600,000.
With Cam Ward on the decline, it looks like the Carolina Hurricanes believe Scott Darling is their new number-one goalie. Darling has been a solid backup his entire NHL career and has helped the Blackhawks win a number of key games in the past.
His play gives us plenty of reason to believe that he will be able to hold his own as an NHL starter. Darling is 28-years-old and looks to be ready to step into a number-one role for the Hurricanes next season.
Justin Williams (RW)
On July 1st, the Carolina Hurricanes brought back Justin Williams on a two year, $9 million dollar deal. He formerly was a member of the team from 2003-2008, and was a Stanley Cup winner on Carolina’s only Cup in 2006.
Justin Williams spent the past two seasons with the Washington Capitals, averaging 23 goals and 50 points per season. He is a solid addition to a Hurricanes team looking for secondary scoring and veteran leadership. On top of that, his championship experience (3x Stanley Cup Champion) should help instill a winning culture into the Hurricanes’ locker room.
Marcus Kruger (C)
The Hurricanes brought in another proven Stanley Cup winner in Marcus Kruger this summer. Due to cap restraints, the Blackhawks traded Kruger to the Golden Knights. Shortly after he was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2018 fifth-round draft pick.
Marcus Kruger was another solid pickup for almost nothing. The Hurricanes brought in a proven Stanley Cup champion to significantly improve the team’s bottom-six. Kruger has learned well during his time with the Chicago Blackhawks, and the two-time Stanley Cup champion should provide quality minutes at the third-line center position next season.
Trevor van Riemsdyk (D)
Trevor van Riemsdyk was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights at the NHL expansion draft. However, shortly after that, he was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes along with a seventh-round pick for a second-round selection in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
He adds depth to the Hurricanes’ blueline and improves their bottom pairing on defense. Van Riemsdyk is another former Blackhawk to join the Carolina’s roster and will help add to their team’s winning mentality.
Josh Jooris (RW)
Josh Jooris signed a one-year $775,000 contract with the Canes after the Arizona Coyotes chose not to give him a qualifying offer.
Overall, Jooris is a hard worker and a solid affordable depth option for Carolina in a bottom-six role.
Eddie Lack (G)
After playing two seasons in Carolina, the Hurricanes decided Eddie Lack wasn’t their guy in net. As a result, Lack was traded along with Ryan Murphy and a 2019 seventh-round pick to the Calgary Flames in exchange for Keegan Kanzig and a sixth-round pick in 2019.
Ryan Murphy (D)
Despite being sent to the Calgary Flames in the Eddie Lack deal, the Flames bought out the remainder of Murphy’s contract shortly after.
However, Murphy wasn’t on the open market for long, as he signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Minnesota Wild shortly after on July 1st.
Bryan Bickell (LW)
After 395 NHL games, and winning multiple Stanley Cups, Bryan Bickell announced his retirement on April 8th, 2017. The 31-year-old was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and made the decision to call it quits in the NHL.
It is unfortunate to see Bickell’s NHL career cut short and he will be missed around the hockey world.
Moving on up
Sebastian Aho (LW)
In his first NHL season, Sebastian Aho scored an impressive 24 goals and 49 points. The 2015, second-round pick of the Hurricanes looks to be a cornerstone piece for the franchise going forward.
We should expect him to take his game to the next level, and be a big impact player for the team next year and beyond.
Teuvo Teravainen (LW/RW)
Teuvo Teravainen had a career year in the NHL last year, scoring 15 goals and 42 points in 81 games.
The 2012 first round pick (12th overall) is just 22-years-old and looks to be just entering his prime. Look for him to possibly be a 50-point player for the Hurricanes next season and be a big contributor on the team’s offense.
Elias Lindholm (C)
Since being taken fifth overall in the 2013 NHL entry draft, Elias Lindholm has slowly improved his game over the past four seasons.
The 22-year-old is coming off a career year, scoring 45 points in 72 games. However, it doesn’t look like Lindholm has reached his ceiling yet. Along with Aho and Teravainen, the trio should be a big part of the team’s future next season and beyond.
What can the Carolina Hurricanes achieve this season?
Going into the 2017/18 season Carolina have the potential to be one of the biggest surprises in the NHL. For an NHL team that doesn’t get much media coverage, they have quietly put together a very impressive roster that looks ready to compete for a playoff spot.
They have a very strong blueline featuring young high-end talent in Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, and Noah Hanifin. Up front, they seem to have something special brewing with the trio of Sebastian Aho, Elias Lindholm, and Teuvo Teravainen.
On top of all that, general manager Ron Francis has surrounded his young players with quality NHL veterans in Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, Justin Williams and Lee Stempniak.
Add all this together, and they have a solid chance to finally end their eight-year playoff drought in 2018.
With the roster they have, the Carolina Hurricanes look like they should be good enough to be at least a fifth place team in the Metropolitan division. There is also the possibility of them sneaking into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
To be fair, they don’t look like they are on the same level as teams like the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets, just yet, but that may change quickly soon.
One big question for the Hurricanes next season is whether Scott Darling can be their number one goalie.
Another question about this team is how far they can go with Jordan Staal and Victor Rask as their team’s top two centers.
Having said that, it is quite possible that the Hurricanes will try to add another center that can play in their top two. Boldly speaking if they are able to add a legitimate first-line center like John Tavares or Matt Duchene, then this team can move up in the standings really quickly.
What do you think the Carolina Hurricanes can achieve in the 2017/18 NHL season? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to vote in the poll.
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?