Another disappointing season for the Carolina Hurricanes. Most expected this team to finally end their postseason drought of nine consecutive seasons this year but it was not meant to be. Going into the season, they had a talented team with a promising start. However, it is well known in sports that you have to be better than average if you want anything positive to happen. The Hurricanes were simply average this year and missed the playoffs by 14 points finishing 36-35-11. They began to fall behind as the final months of the season were presented. In spite of another let down of a campaign, the future could be bright for Carolina.
Some promising talent calls Raleigh home as there are some key pieces to the puzzle already present that could help lead the franchise to bigger and better things. Among those pieces are players like Sebastian Aho, Tuevo Teravainen, Justin Williams, Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk. Aho and Teravainen accounted for a hefty portion of the team's offense as they scored 65 and 64 points respectively. On offense and defense the Hurricanes lack a special superstar that cannot only change a singular game but also lead the team to win streaks and consistency. The Hurricanes should feel confident in their leading scorers but I wouldn't advise against trading for a possible upgrade or depth pieces.
A definite upgrade coming from the draft presented itself as the second overall pick which was incredibly awarded to the 'Canes. In a draft lottery surprise, Carolina moved all the way up to the second pick when they weren't even expected to pick in the top ten. Selecting Andrei Svechnikov, this could be the superstar player the Hurricanes have been missing. It's possible that this is a crucial piece to the puzzle. Not necessarily for any kind of a Cup run, that will come in time, but for ending the longest playoff drought in the NHL. If he turns out to be as good for the team as most are projecting he will be, this could be the year we see Carolina back in the playoffs. Changes in ownership, front office and coaching staff could support a new Hurricanes team that isn't prone to stagnation. If change is coming to the Hurricanes, this could be the very beginning of it.
In regards to Carolina's current offseason, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding Carolina's long time star Jeff Skinner. Skinner has been with the Hurricanes his entire career and has been a solid contributor to the Hurricanes brief moments of success in the past. An all-star in 2011 (and the youngest all-star in North American sports history), Skinner could be possible trade bait in perhaps getting a star defenseman to cement the blue line. The Hurricanes have enough offensive pieces right now and with the addition of Svechnikov from the draft, the two weaknesses of the 'Canes fall in the goaltending and defensemen. Skinner would be a solid choice to trade away in return for a key piece or depth pieces.
Although most said this last year, I truly think that the Hurricanes will make the playoffs this season. There was improvement but towards the end Carolina sort of fell off the wagon. Not only that, they were competing in a pretty tough division to begin with. There are some more issues that need to be solved but the Hurricanes are close to solving them. The right decisions just need to be made.
Here is Carolina's infographic for the 2017-18 season.