The Hurricanes will start the second half of their season coming off a winning trade, and two player extensions securing the continuation of the youth movement. 21 year old Canes Forward, Sebastian Aho the key component to the future also broke out in the All Star game with 2 goals and an assist in win for the Metro division.
Through 50 games the Hurricanes are in the 10th spot in the playoffs, just 4 points back of the last spot with a record of 24-20-6. Aho without a doubt has been a shining star with 57 points in 50 games. He is not alone in Rod Brind’amor’s upstart high shooting offense. The Canes locked up their second leading scorer (43 points) 24 year old Forward Teuvo Teravainen to a 5 year 27 Million dollar deal. Teuvo was scheduled to be a free-agent after the season.
Forward Jordan Martinook also signed a 2 year, 4 Million extension. Martinook has 10 goals through the season’s first 50 games which is good for the 6th best scorer on the team. The Canes will now be challenged with securing Aho to a long term deal to cement the core of the team moving forward. Although the recent moves have been major positive moves for the organization, it would be a major failure if the team was not able to re-sign Aho.
In addition to the signings the Hurricanes traded fan favorite Victor Rask to the Minnesota Wild for winger Nino Niederreiter. Statistically, Niederreiter has scored 23 points in 47 games at the time of the trade, vs Rask who has seen a major decline in offensive productivity (6 points in 26 games). As a team, the Canes rank 26th in goals scored with 156 goals, 19th in Goals against on defense, and #1 in shots taken.
Looking at the stats from efficiency standpoint Carolina has not been good at creating great clear cut goal scoring opportunities or breakaways. However, by the same token, the fan base has been charged with a team that controls the puck, has a team of fast skating young Europeans and out shoots its opponents regularly. This style of play relies on a lot of shots from the blue line and relies on the offense to crash the offensive zone and hope for deflections or rebounds to create scoring opportunities. In goal a healthy Curtis McElhinney has been a major upgrade over Petr Mrazek who started a majority of the season’s initial games. As anticipated this has still been a weak spot on the team. McElhinney has posted an 11-6-1 record in between the posts, averaging 2.50 Goals per game allowed which ranks 17th in the league.
Mrazek is 10-10-3 with a 2.81 goals against average, but has really performed inconsistently against teams the Canes are expected to beat. Looking forward the team hopes to continue its record in their new alternative black jerseys. They have posted a 7-0-2 record in the jerseys so far this year. Carolina will get back to the ice Friday February 1st for a home game against the Las Vegas Golden Knights with a 7:30 puck drop.