So why is an Islanders fan writing a Hurricanes blog, well for a few reasons. My son has been a Hurricanes fan since they move to Carolina, never really said exactly why, but still roots for them today. (Maybe Grandma living there has something to do with it) I will probably be heading there in a few years to get away from all the expenses of Long Island, so naturally they will have to be my second favorite club, and finally nobody here seems to write for them, so.....
Today they sit 14-11-7 just 4 points behind my beloved Isles for a playoff spot, but in the battle that is the Metro, they also are last in the division. This division will play like this all year, last in the division but they have played 4 games vs Columbus and walked away with 6 of a possible 8 points!
Positives so far:
Teuvo Teravainen leads the team in points and seems to be headed towards bigger and better things, at only 23 he is rounding into the form that made him Chicago's first round pick in 2012. With scoring needed hopefully he can continue to improve his game and add to his goals, not just his assists.
Elias Lindholm is shooting at an excellent 14%+, but he is simply not shooting enough, 63 shots in 32 games, he must get to the quiet areas more often and be ready to go, it's there, you see it, but it has to be more consistent but hey he is only 23 also.
Trevor van Riemsdyk nobody including me thought that through a third of the season that Trevor would lead this team in +/- not with the likes of Faulk, Slavin and such, but none the less there he is, he is getting his opportunity here, he will never be as flashy as the others, but steady and reliable d men are something every team needs.
Scott Darling, this one is obvious and a little scary, while we have done well with players plucked from the Blackhawks and everyone was excited that the Canes might have found their #1 of the future, Scott Darling has struggled this season, the tools are there, and he has a pretty decent d in front of him so what is it? Fact is goals are up across the league, but a 903 save percentage simply is not what the Canes are paying 4.1 til 2022 for. This to me is a coaching project, he has never had the load before, I think it is in his head, combined with a team averaging 2.8 GF a game and he has the "I have to be perfects" going in his head. This is not good for tenders, ever. He gives up one and you can see the body language, almost resigned to a bad game after giving up his first, and defeated if he gives up 2, I believe he is better then this, hopefully 35 stops against a quality opponent helps, hopefully nobody told him how bad Columbus is on the PP, (heard that Torts is considering declining penalties if it doesn't improve), and he builds on this. Next his teammates need to steal one on a night when he is off, that has not happened not yet, tough to say they did it for Cam as team D was not that great against Buffalo, but you could make the argument.
So the future...
I believe it is bright, and it IS in Carolina, a new owner who made it clear before the ink was dry that he is keeping them here, prospects still in the pipeline and some very interesting free agents coming with a ton of cap space. If this owner is serious he will get the Canes out of the basement of spending and at least put them in the middle floors, (just not JT ok?). So lets go Canes, build on getting 8 out of a possible 12 points in your last 6 and winning on a back to back.
Like I said earlier success breeds confidence, lets hope that has started for this group.