By: Haskell Shelton
Is local rapper Petey Pablo a metaphor for the Carolina Hurricanes Season? Petey will not only ring the siren when the Hurricanes open up their home season begins October 4th against the New York Islanders. The rap classic will be the Hurricanes home goal song as the club recently released. We’ll hear the famous lyrics each time there is home goal right after the we hear Ric Flair’s legendary Whoooh:
This one’s for North Carolina! c’mon and raise up
Take your shirt off, twist it ’round yo’ hand
Spin it like a helicopter
They Hurricanes faithful hope to be spinning plenty of shirts, towels, or whatever they can find like Helicopters. The question remains are the Canes Old School, or New School? It appears to be a serviceable mix of some Veterans and low-cost additions. So the answer likely rests in between.
What can we realistically expect from a team that has drastically changed from last year? Currently the Hurricanes are a surprisingly upstart 5-0 in the pre-season with two games to play. Gone are fixtures like Jeff Skinner, Noah Hanfin, and Stanley Cup Champion Goalie Cam Ward. Last year the Hurricanes finished 36-35-11 or 14 pts of the last wild card spots in the Western Division. There is no doubt the Hurricanes are trying to play moneyball with their roster moves.
The Current Roster would allow for a salary cap low of 59 Million, and a high of 80 Million. The Hurricanes offseason dumped salary and rebuild with a new head coach Rod Brind’Amour and a young roster that they are only on the hook for 60 Million, barely above the league minimum floor. That number certainly allows for the Hurricanes to sign several nice free agents if they see progress from this young core.
The offense is returning its two top Finnish scorers, Forwards 21 year Sebastian Aho and 26-year-old Teuvo Teravainen. The youngsters will have plenty of help from veteran Captain Justin Williams and Alternate Jordan Staal upfront to help with a very quick and physical front line offense that will look to capitalize on speed. They’ll also look to build off a solid first two lines and a strong defense lead by projected first liners Dougie Hamilton and Jaccob Slavin. Veteran and staple Justin Faulk is set to make major contributions as well. The Defense is expected to be the strength of the team, and will face plenty of pressure with question marks in-goal.
There is a lot of anxiety surrounding the team in how will projected starter Goalie Scott Darling perform in-goal? The organization has touted his re-commitment to training from last years statistically disappointing performance in 17-18. There is absolutely a lot of room for improvement in this position. It’s clearly a step down from Cam Ward. As an insurance policy the Hurricanes picked up former Red Wings back up goalie Petr Mrazek. The two are expected to alternate and see who gives the team the best chance to win long-term.
In the past 12 months its clear the Hurricanes are in complete rebuild mode with a new owner, new head coach, and a heavily rebuilt roster. Despite all the question marks there are plenty of scenarios that will make this a fun team to watch, and ppossibly a dark horse playoff candidate. Perhaps Petey Pablo will help the team recapture some of the magic it mustered from a decade ago.
Prediction: The Hurricanes get to 40 wins, miss the playoffs, and are a couple of years away from being set up for some exciting runs in the Eastern Conference
Key acquisitions: F Micheal Ferland, F Andrei Svechnikov, D Dougie Hamilton, D Calvin de Haan, G Petr Mrazek, head coach Rod Brind’Amour
Key departures: F Elias Lindholm, F Joakim Nordstrom, F Derek Ryan, F Jeff Skinner, F Lee Stempniak, D Noah Hanifin, G Cam Ward, head coach Bill Peters