For the second straight season the Carolina Hurricanes
finished in 13th place in the Eastern Conference and it was the fifth
consecutive year they failed to qualify for the playoffs.
The Hurricanes did not make any waves in the free agent
market and come into the 2014-15 season with nearly the same team that they had
last year. They battled a multitude of injuries to key players, but no more
than other teams across the NHL, so the question becomes “are they good enough
to compete for the playoffs?”
Tim Gleason – D Justin
Peters – G
Jay McClement – C Manny
Malhotra – C
Drew MacIntyre – G Brett
Sutter – C
Cam Ward, 30, had been the Hurricanes’ rock for the previous
seven seasons, but injuries held him to just 28 starts in 2013-14. He finished
the year with a 3.06 GAA and .898 SV%, which are his worst numbers since 2006-07.
Anton Khudobin, 28, battled injury as well, but when he was healthy he badly
outplayed Ward. He was 19-14-1 with a 2.30 GAA and .926 SV% so you have to
think that Khudobin comes into this year as the Hurricanes number-1 option.
Up front the Hurricanes have quality young forwards, but
they have been unable to put it all together. They are led by their captain
Eric Staal, who had his worst season since his rookie year in 2003-04. Despite
the off year, Staal still led the Canes in points (61) for the fifth
consecutive year. His younger brother Jordan Staal is known more for his
two-way game, but most people expected him to grow his offensive game more than
the 40 points (15G / 25A) in 82 games he posted last year. He has boasted
strong possession numbers in his career (54.0 CF% in 2013-14) which bodes well
for ‘Canes if that possession translates into more goals.
After a great debut season with Carolina, Alex Semin
struggled last year and ended his season with wrist surgery. He is expected to
be 100 per cent to start the season and with a shot like his, he is always a
threat for 30-plus goals. Jiri Tlusty regressed after a career year in the
lockout shortened season, but was brought back on a one-year deal. The Hurricanes
most intriguing asset is Jeff Skinner. At just 22-years-old he already has two
30-goal seasons and as long as he can stay healthy, he is a 30-30 threat and
one of the top-15 left-wing options. Elias Lindholm is another interesting name
that pops up. The 2013 fifth overall pick had nine goals and 12 assists (21
points) in 58 games and started taking on a bigger role towards the end of the
year. Expect him to challenge for a top-6 role and take another step forward in
his development as a full-time NHLer.
On the blueline, they brought veteran Tim Gleason back after
trading him to Toronto last year. Gleason is a strong stay at home guy. AndrejSekera and Justin Faulk should provide the offense from the back-end. Sekera’s
first year in Carolina was by far his best season. He had 44 points (11G / 33A)
which was third on the team and tied for 14th among NHL defensemen. The
22-year-old Faulk also had his best offensive season posting 32 points (5G /
27A) in 76 games.
TOP 5 SCORERS LAST SEASON
2013-2014 – Regular Season –
Carolina Hurricanes – Skater – Summary – Points
Overall, the Hurricanes should be better than they were last
season, but they will be hard-pressed to make the playoffs.
The Hurricanes battle the Devils for last
in the Metropolitan division.
View the Carolina Hurricanes roster and cap space heading into the 2014 – 2015 season.