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2018-2019 NHL Preview: Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina gets a playoff berth under Brind’Amour

Carolina Hurricanes v Washington Capitals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

In this 31 part series, I will be working my way back from 31st to 1st in my projected 2017-2018 standings. Sixteenth up are the Carolina Hurricanes who are in their 21st season in the NHL (as just the Hurricanes). They are going to make the playoffs for the first time in eight years this year

2017 – 2018 NHL Stats:

NHL Standings: 21st
Goals for Rank: 23rd
Goals against Rank: 24th
PP Rank: 22nd
PK Rank: 23rd

Projected 2018-2019 NHL Stats

NHL Standings: 16th
Eastern Conference Standings: 8th
Metropolitan Division Standings: 5th
Coach: Rod Brind’Amour (first season as a head coach after being an assistant coach and development coach for six years)


To me, the first elephant in the room is Peter Karmanos Jr (who has owned the team since they were the Hartford Whalers) selling to Thomas Dundon. Out goes head coach Bill Peters and in comes Rod Brind’Amour taking over in his first stint as a head coach. If his leadership here is anything like it was as a captain in 2006 then this team is in for a good season; however, being a coach is much different from leading on the ice. This team, on offense at least, is quite the opposite from the last few that I highlighted in that they aren’t top heavy but spread out pretty evenly. With the recent departure of Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner, the top two lines still feature a few talented players: Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen (plus potentially Andrei Svechnikov) but they are strong in a deeper stance beyond the top two lines. The bottom six feature Jordan Staal, Justin Williams, Brock McGinn and Victor Rask who are among the stronger deep players in the league. I anticipate their offense to ultimately be fairly average to below average but their defense should carry them this season. Start to finish the Hurricanes have one of the deepest units in the NHL, Jaccob Slavin, Calvin De Haan, Dougie Hamilton, Justin Faulk and Brett Pesce help make this a very formidable defensive unit. The Hurricanes allowed the fewest shots against last year headlined by 90+blocked shots by Faulk, Slavin, Pesce, Haydn Fleury and Trevor van Riemsdyk. They are a disciplined team, committing the fewest penalties last year, under rough and gritty Brind’Amour that should tick up a bit this year. In net Cam Ward and Scott Darling split the season perfect with Cam outplaying Scott to the tune of a 2.73 GAA and a .906 Sv%. The season was VERY uncharacteristically Scott Darling who had 3 consecutive seasons of sub 2.6 GAA and .915+ Sv % previously in Chicago. The team change might have had a part to do with it but I think he had an off year and will rebound this year to help bring them to the playoffs.

Major Additions:

Michael Ferland, Dougie Hamilton & Petr Mrazek

Major Subtractions:

Noah Hanifan, Elias Lindholm, Jeff Skinner, Derek Ryan and Cam Ward

Prospects and Picks:

-Andrei Svechnikov. The 2nd overall pick in the 2018 draft is playing ahead of his age. As a 17 year old he put up 58 points in 48 games with the Muskegon Lumberjacks and then last year in the OHL he put up 72 points in 44 games with the Barrie Colts. He is a true playmaker who reads the ice well and makes his teammates better, he has a tendency to win 1 on 1 battles. He will likely crack the roster as Carolina tests the first 9 games to see if he’s capable of staying.

-Martin Necas. Taken 12th overall in the 2017 draft, Martin spent the last two seasons in the Czech league putting up 27 points in 65 games. Despite him potentially cracking the roster, he needs time to develop. He is a playmaker who has quick legs and hands. His confidence carries him in his game but it has not caught up to his size where he gets knocked around in the higher leagues.

Sleeper Fantasy Asset:

-Scott Darling. There are two prevailing thoughts with Scott. You could assume that last year was an anomaly either due to fresh scenery or due to playing the most games he’s ever played in his NHL career and due to that he had a down year. The second option is you think he has little chemistry with the Hurricanes defense (who allowed the fewest shots against in the league) and he will not rebound to what he once was in Chicago. I’m going with the former and I think he can be a top 10 goalie with them this year. His raw skill plus the talented defense can create a very powerful turnaround and make him a valued asset this year.

Cap Situation:

$41MM Spent; $35M in Cap room; 15 players signed; average team age 25.


Is Scott Darling a top 10 Goalie this year?

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