If you’re like most people, there’s a decent chance you’ve written off the Carolina Hurricanes in recent years. Not only have they missed the playoffs for the last eight seasons, officially making it the longest playoff drought in history, but they also haven’t shown what they’re capable of.
First thing’s first, Ron Francis has the right idea. As the general manager of the team since 2014, Francis has made some big moves to get the Hurricanes to what they are today. He cleaned house, drafted a lot of young players to shape into franchise players, and he’s done a lot of solid trading. As one of the Hurricanes’ greatest players, it comes as no surprise that Francis wants the team to return to their glory days. While the rebuilding might be taking a lot longer than a team like the Oilers, for example, slow and steady wins the race. I think it’s safe to say that Francis is playing the long game.
They have a goalie that can get the job done. During this year’s postseason, Francis got rid of Eddie Lack and picked up Scott Darling from the Blackhawks. Last year as a back-up goalie, Darling had a .924 save percentage and a 27-18-5 record. As of right now, his save percentage is .910, his record is 10-4-3 and it’s only the start of the season. This takes a huge weight off of Cam Ward’s shoulders as the team’s main goalie especially since Ward is on the decline after so many years as the backbone of the team.
They’re a young team with good chemistry. What do you get when you combine Jeff Skinner, Noah Hanifin, Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho? The light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. Having a young team that has chemistry for every single shift on the ice is important, and the Hurricanes are capitalizing on that. Not only that, they have Justin Williams and Marcus Kruger, who have Stanley Cup wins under their belts. They’ll be able to coach the young guys with their own advice and experience.
The Hurricanes were the winners of the offseason by far. This goes back to Francis having the right idea as their general manager. Between a mix of short-term deals, a few picks and addressing existing issues, the organization did everything right. They extended Jaccob Slavin’s contract the smart way, didn’t waste money where they didn’t need to, and kept the players that are key to their success.
It’s easy to write off a team that everyone has made fun of for the last few years – we’ve all done it. But don’t count the Hurricanes out just yet. Give them a couple more years to get everything solidified and they’ll be a team to watch out for and they might even surprise you.