In this 31 part series, I will be working my way back from 31st to 1st in my projected 2019-2020 standings. I will first note some ongoing trends that are happening in the league. Goals scored per game went up for the fourth consecutive season (at 3.01 goals per game last year), shots against finally dipped last season to 31.3 per game after increasing for four consecutive seasons previously. It’s clear the league’s push towards offense is yielding its intended effect.
Twenty-Second up are the Carolina Hurricanes who are in their 22nd year as a franchise (at least as the Hurricanes). They made the playoffs last year traveling all the way to the Eastern Conference finals before losing to the Boston Bruins. It was their first time making the playoffs in 10 years.
2018 – 2019 NHL Stats
- NHL Standings: 7th
- Goals for Rank: 16th
- Goals against Rank: 7th
- PP Rank: 20th
- PK Rank: 8th
Projected 2019-2020 NHL Stats
- NHL Standings: 10th
- Eastern Conference Standings: 6th
- Metropolitan Division Standings: 2nd
- Coach: Rod Brind’Amour (Second season with the Hurricanes; 46-29-7 regular season; 8-7 playoffs)
On offense, this team was very pedestrian last season and it wasn’t for a lack of shots. Despite having the most shots for in the league they had the 16th most goals for. Some of the young talent like Martin Necas and Warren Foegele will provide an infusion of new players. Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen are entering their prime years. The addition of key players like Ryan Dzingel and last year Nino Niederreiter averaged almost a point a game in his short time after he was traded to Carolina. This team should be a top 12 offense with their shots, speed and depth.
Defensively, the team had the 3rd fewest shots against and the 6th fewest goals against. Jaccob Slavin and Dougie Hamilton are a decent top two but it’s the depth that really gives strength to the team, Jake Gardiner, Brett Pesce (who had a real breakout campaign last season), and Justin Faulk are all great defensemen.
In net, Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney split in net last year. With their GAA’s in the 2.39 – 2.58 both were above average there but save percentages at .916 - .918 were still solid but sub average. I think Petr and new goalie James Reimer should see average to above average results, especially with a strong defensive unit ahead of them.
Behind the bench, Rod Brind’Amour took over as his first job as a head coach. Many were skeptical and yet I think it could be said that he far surpassed their expectations. For years the Hurricanes were touted as the it team and he brought them to that point. Sustainability is a fair question but he has proven himself capable off the start.
- Ryan Dzingel
- James Reimer
- Justin Williams
- Michael Ferland
Prospects and Picks
Ryan Suzuki — Taken with the 28th overall pick in this years draft Ryan has loads of talent that he will be bringing to the Carolina Hurricanes. Last year in the OHL he put up 75 points and 25 goals in 65 games and I should add the Barrie Colts are not the strongest OHL team, he really took it upon himself as Assistant Captain to do his best for them.
Sleeper Fantasy Asset
Nino Niederreiter — In just 36 games last season he put up 30 points after he was traded from Minnesota to Carolina in January. He is likely to get top line minutes and while I don’t force him being a point a game player I think he could revert back to his 2016-2017 season with 25 goals and 57 points.
Cap Situation: (per CapFriendly)
$83MM Spent; $0MM in Cap room; 24 players signed.