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Carolina Hurricanes Season Preview

Carolina Hurricanes
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The Carolina Hurricanes had a great season in 2020-2021. The playoffs, however, were not so kind to them. They finished third in the league and a tough Central division, but found themselves at home after losing in the second round to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The front office for the Hurricanes was busy during the offseason, both in the draft and free agency. They hauled in 14 picks at the draft and made several signings to improve both sides of the puck. Some might see their dealings as taking too many chances; perhaps even some drastic ones. The season will show everyone the good and the bad of the franchise’s choices.

Make sure to check out all of our other NHL Season Previews.

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Offense

Despite their playoff bid, the ‘Canes didn’t have quite the depth scoring the puck, though they were 10th overall in the league in goals for; not bad for a playoff team. Carolina did lose some fan favorites, like Warren Foegele and Brock McGinn. They have attempted to add more depth to their forward ranks with players such as Derek Stepan, Stefan Noesen, Jesper Fast, and Josh Leivo. It will be interesting to see how these and other players fit into coach Rod Brind’Amour‘s plans for the offense.

Defense

Carolina will be feeling the loss of Dougie Hamilton‘s departure to the New Jersey Devils for some time. Another move that has fans confounded is the signing of Tony DeAngelo. No matter how you feel about him personally, he is a decent defenseman who might flourish with the Canes. Ethan Bear was brought in from the Edmonton Oilers via trade, and he is skillful at blocking shots and has an upside the Canes are happy with. Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, and Ian Cole will all have to work hard as well to make up for what the team lost in Hamilton. It’s going to take the entire defense corps to keep them on the path to the playoffs.

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In Net

There have been some significant changes to the goaltending in the offseason. First, Petr Mrazek left the Hurricanes and signed a three-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Second, Alex Nedeljkovic was traded to the Detroit Red Wings. Then (as if that wasn’t bad enough), James Reimer signed with the San Jose Sharks. This leaves Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta to mind the net for Carolina. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to see if this will work out for the Hurricanes until the season starts.

Key Players

Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Kotkaniemi is only 21 years old, so there’s a high ceiling for him to improve on what he has already done. Though he is unlikely to be the best forward on the team, he will do much better if more consistent in his play. However, for the amount that the Canes are paying him, he will need to give them something in return, even if it is simply raising his production from the past season.

Brady Skjei

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A solid player on his own end, but needs to work on developing his offensive skills. Skjei fits into Carolina’s system quite well, but he will need to step up and help out with Hamilton gone. Despite the high price the Hurricanes paid to get the Lakeville, MN native, he’s been a good investment for the blueline.

Biggest Question Facing the Hurricanes

Did all the moves the front office made make the team any better, or did they just play themselves? Many fans are confused as to why the team made the changes they chose to make. No one outside the front office and perhaps the coaches sees the big picture they have for the team. Not just for this season, but for the future, as well. We will find out as the season progresses if the choices were the right ones.

Seasonal Forecast

There are a lot of questions surrounding what the Hurricanes have done with their roster. They have a strong core on both sides of the puck and will attempt to take the next step towards bringing the Stanley Cup home. They return to the Metropolitan Division, which is stacked with teams likely to make the playoffs. Carolina will have to “put up or shut up” with the team they bring to the table. Fans can expect to see the Hurricanes in the playoffs again unless something horrific happens. Take warning.


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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
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