“This team is different” has been a frequent refrain from hopeful Carolina Hurricanes fans. A lot of talent has passed through the Canes organization during the past decade. And yet, Caniacs’ hopes have not materialized into a playoffs spot since the 2008-09 season.
As the NHL regular season begins tonight for the Hurricanes against the New York Islanders, there is cause for optimism, but uncertainty, too.
Canes Off Season Changes
For the first time, Canes owner Tom Dundon will oversee the team from the start of the season. Dundon’s changes in team culture are evident.
Rod Brind’Amour is in for Bill Peters as head coach. Brind’Amour is known for his work ethic as much as his skill as a player. Team Captain Justin Williams is on the same page with Brind’Amour. The result is the Canes this year are more focused, more driven, and more aggressive. Gone is the sluggish four-corners-like Peters offensive system.
To the extent one can evaluate the Hurricanes on the preseason – during which opposing teams were testing out prospects – there is cause for optimism.
The Hurricanes put up 5 wins and 1 loss in overtime in the preseason. The Hurricanes beat the Stanley Cup Champion Capitals on Washington’s home ice. The Canes showed they could get tough and stand up to Nashville when the Predators went savage.
The Hurricanes will have to rely on scoring from some of its youngest players, Andrei Svechnikov, Martin Necas, Valentin Zykov, and Warren Foegele. All of them held up well in the preseason.
Goaltending has long been a big question mark for the Canes. Scott Darling apparently put in a lot of work in the offseason and arrived at training camp in better physical condition, but he suffered a lower body injury in the final game of the preseason and is expected to be out for several weeks.
Goalie Petr Mrazek looked very capable during the preseason, and he has a history of solid, if not always consistent, performance. He is a free agent on a one-year contract; he truly is fighting for his future spot on the team.
Whether this team will make the playoffs is anyone’s guess. What is clear is that the current Carolina Hurricanes team plays with energy and passion and will be an exciting team to follow.
Who is out
Coach Bill Peters
Who is new on the Canes
Petr Mrazek: free agent goaltender, NHL career .911 save percentage
Calvin de Haan: strong defenseman
Dougie Hamilton: defensive with strong scoring potential
Michael Ferland: big, tough, adds physicality and net presence.
Andrei Svechnikov: big, fast, good hands, 1st round draft pick this year
Martin Necas: great hands
Valentin Zykov: fast, strong, brought up from Charlotte
Warren Foegele: fast, and above all, scrappy player brought up from Charlotte
Curtis McElhinney,: back up goalie, picked up on waivers shortly after Scott Darlings injury, has a NHL career .909 save percentage.
Canes Roster Pronunciation Guide
4 – Haydn Fleury (HAY-duhn FLUHR-ee)
7 – Phil Di Giuseppe (FIHL DEE-juh-SEH-pee)
11 – Jordan Staal (JOHR-dahn STAWL)
13 – Warren Foegele (WAR-ehn FOH-guhl)
20 – Sebastian Aho (seh-BAS-t’yehn AH-hoh)
22 – Brett Pesce (BREHT PEH-SHEE)
34 – Petr Mrazek (PEE-tuhr M’RAZ-ihk)
35 – Curtis McElhinney (KUHR-this MAK-ihl-ehn-ee)
37 – Andrei Svechnikov (AHN-dray svech-NIH-kawv)
44 – Calvin de Haan (CAL-vihn DUH HAWN)
48 – Jordan Martinook (JOHR-dihn MAHR-tihn-ook)
57 – Trevor van Riemsdyk (TREH-vuhr VAN REEMZ-dighk)
71 – Lucas Wallmark (LOO-kuhs WAHL-mahrk)
73 – Valentin Zykov (val-ehn-TEEN ZIH-kawv)
74 – Jaccob Slavin (JAY-kuhb SLAY-vihn)
79 – Micheal Ferland (MIGH-kuhl FUHR-land)
86 – Teuvo Teräväinen (tay-OH-voh tehr-a-VIGH-nuhn)
88 – Martin Ne?as (MAHR-teen NEY-chass)