NHL 15: Carolina Hurricanes Guide
Written By: PaceFalmd
Year in Review:
They went into the 2013 offseason needing to address their bottom six forward, defense, and goaltending depth. They struggled mightily when the Tlusty-Staal-Semin line cooled off (the best line in the NHL the first part of the season), going from second in the division to the bottom in a span of weeks. They also struggled when Cam and Dan Ellis both went down at the same time to lower body injuries, and lost Joni Pitkanen to a freak heel injury on an icing that pretty much ended his career. The team acquired Anton Khudobin who was not resigned by the Bruins to back up Cam and challenge him for the starting role. The Canes swindled Andrej Sekera from the Sabres for Jamie McBain and a draft pick, and signed Gerbe who was cut by the Sabres.
Aside from the Pens, whole metropolitan started out terribly. The division was so bad that at one point the Canes were in the top three. Eric Staal and Alexander Semin started out slow, but we were doing alright as a team and we were pretty optimistic that once our top line was healthy, we’d be able to turn it up and keep our playoff berth.
Things became unglued as both Cam and Dobby went down in a two week span, and both missed months due to lower body injuries. During this time Justin Peters was called up and played admirably in their stead, earning the respect of much of our fanbase. Unfortunately the rest of the Metro started to figure out that the season had started and we slowly dropped in the ranks.
We were still in contention for a playoff berth going into the Olympic break, but hopes were dashed as we dropped double digit games in the first few weeks back. Rather than regroup and make a strong push for the playoffs, we rolled over and died. We closed out the season second from the bottom in the division, ten points from a playoff spot.
Shortly after the season was over Jim Rutherford was fired as our GM, and former great Ron Francis was promoted. About a month later, Kirk Muller was fired as a head coach. Judging from the post Olympic reboot and from the end of season media availability from some of the players, it seemed like he had completely lost the locker room. It didn’t help that our powerplay was in the bottom 5 of the league, despite Muller being hired to fix just that. Ron spent a few weeks mulling this decision over, but he hired Bill Peters of the Detroit Red Wings as the next head coach of the Hurricanes. We failed to reach deals with Malhotra and Peters to bring them back, but we signed Jay McClement, Brad Malone, Drew McIntyre, and Tim Gleason. We also re-signed Brett Bellemore, Ron Hainsey, Zach Boychuk, Jiri Tlusty, and Greg Nemisz. We picked up Hadyn Fleury and Alex Nedeljkovic in the first two rounds of the draft, addressing our organizational defense and goalie prospect depth, along with Josh Wesley, son of former Hurricanes great Glen Wesley.
Highlights of the 2013-2014 Season:
Why the Carolina Hurricanes Will Win the Cup this Year:
Eric Staal’s rehab on his core muscle goes well and the top line of Tlusty – Staal – Semin returns to 2013 form in which they were the best in the league for months. Unlike in 2013 in which they were the only line worth a damn, the second line led by Jordan and Skinner find their own chemistry and pull the weight when the first line slows down, while Skinner himself becomes the next young start to notch 50 goals. The newly rebuilt fourth line led by Brad Malone becomes one of the premier energy lines in the NHL, much like the Adams – Adams – Larose line back in 2006. Sekera and Faulk gel and quietly become a top 10 first defensive pairing, while Bellemore and Murphy continue to develop into a good 2nd pairing. Gleason blocks shots and punches faces, returning to 2009 form. Anton Khudobin takes advantage of a healthy year and puts up respectable numbers. Wardo doesn’t quite return to 2006 form, but has a winning record and takes about 15-20 games off of Dobby’s plate so they both go into the playoffs. The team catches fire in the playoffs and wins four straight seven game series and beats the Stars in the Stanley Cup finals. Plot twist: Lindy Ruff still blames it on injuries. Laviolette suffers an aneurysm from excessive laughter.
Why the Carolina Hurricanes Won’t Win the Cup this Year:
Eric Staal starts out slow and never gets his groove back. His slow start is the final straw for fans and they scapegoat him hard. He is traded at the deadline. Jeff Skinner doesn’t learn to protect himself and gets demolished trying to dance around the defense, and his multiple concussions completely derail his career. Semin can’t carry the top line with an injured Staal and a bad Tlusty and gets scapegoated as well, leaves for the KHL at the end of the season. Jordan gets pissy that Eric left and demands a trade. Elias Lindholm never progresses past his rookie season and becomes a career 3rd/4th liner. Faulk similarly stops progressing and is just average. Bellemore and Murphy are relied on too much and their growth into the NHL is stunted. Dobby and Wardo do a repeat of last season and we miss another 60 top two goalie man-games. Season ticket sales plummet, Karmanos starts up plans to relocate the team.