2018 Carolina Hurricanes Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
Carolina has not been good for a long time and now finds themselves in a bit of a rut. Sometimes when you are in a rut you have to do something to shake yourself out of it. And the Hurricanes did just that. They have a new coach and could have as many as seven newly-acquired players on the opening-day roster. Their ownership leaves something to be desired - more Jerry Jones than is ideal - but they aren't afraid to be aggressive, and they have quite probably made themselves significantly better. But what will it all add up to?
Carolina Hurricanes Offseason Moves
It was a very active offseason for the Hurricanes. It all started right after the season when head coach Bill Peters resigned after four seasons and zero playoff games. He had worn out his welcome, and he landed in Calgary just three days later. To replace him they stayed in house, elevating Rod Brind'Amour, who starred for the team on the ice for a decade and has been an assistant since 2011, to the top job. He's certainly familiar to the team. It remains to be seen, though, if familiar is what they need at this point.
Then the team got active making trades. The first deal, a swap of centers with Marcus Kruger going to Arizona and Jordan Martinook coming this way, was just a case of depth forwards given a fresh start. The much more significant deal came late in June, when the team made a blockbuster of a deal with Peters' new team in Calgary. They sent out former first-round picks Elias Lindholm, a winger, and defenseman Noah Hanifin. In exchange they got first pairing defender Dougie Hamilton, winger Michael Ferland, and top defensive prospect Adam Fox. Hamilton is a very good defenseman with a nice offensive touch. But he's still young, and Calgary was the second team to give up on him, so there are clearly issues off the ice. There have been plenty of rumors that aren't important, but it is more likely that Hamilton will contribute right away on the ice than that he will settle in with the Hurricanes for the long term. And Ferland is a winger who spent time playing on Calgary's top line. He is offensively talented but frustratingly inconsistent. Carolina has a good chance to win this trade, but it is no lock. And they weren't done after that. They sent Jeff Skinner, who had outlasted his welcome, to Buffalo for talented offensive center Cliff Pu, who had 84 points in 65 games for two junior teams last year. Carolina also got three picks in the deal.
The biggest story of the offseason, though, came in the draft. The team had the second pick, and they picked Russian winger Andrei Svechnikov. He had 40 goals in just 44 games last year in his only season in the OHL, so he has an obvious offensive touch. He also has the body of an NHLer despite only being 18. He's ready now and will play a big role on this team.
Free agency saw the departure of Cam Ward, the longtime cornerstone of the
team in net, to Chicago. Petr Mrazek replaces him on a one-year deal.
Forward Derek Ryan, who was a very late bloomer, followed Peters to
Calgary. And another addition to the blue line, Calvin de Haan, is locked
down for four years and more than $18 million after leaving the Islanders.
Carolina Hurricanes NHL Outlook
Captain Justin Williams is 36, and assistant captain Jordan Staal is 30. And that's it - every other guy on the roster is in their 20s, or younger in the case of Svechnikov and 2017 first-rounder Martin Necas. This is a young roster. Very young. There is plenty of upside here. Sebastian Aho has already made a name for himself at 21. Svechnikov could be a star soon. Defensemen Jacob Slavin and Haydn Fleury are young and have serious potential. Teuvo Teravainen is excellent offensively. And there is more. The young team will probably require more time to gel, but they are certainly moving in the right direction. If they were a stock I'd be buying it.
Carolina Hurricanes Schedule
The first three home games for this team are against the Islanders, Rangers and Canucks. This is not going to be a great team, but they have a real shot at winning those games to get off to a good start. If they don't win at least two then it could be a rough season.
Carolina Hurricanes NHL Futures Odds
Carolina is in a place in the Stanley Cup futures hierarchy at Bovada where they probably don't want to be. At +10000 they are tied with a group of pretty bad teams and ahead of just three really bad ones. The season point total is set at 85.5, just a small increase from the 83 points of last season.
2018-19 Carolina Hurricanes Predictions
The team needs to be only three points better than last year to go "over" the total. The addition of Svechnikov and Necas, the trades and the departure of guys who were not completely positive influences, only helps. The defense is sound. Goalie Scott Darling can be a lot better than he was last year. The pieces are there for an improvement. They probably won't reach playoff heights, but I see improvement here. I like the over here quite a bit.
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