September is upon us, and training camps will open up. In addition, preseason games are right around the corner, so hockey is officially back in our lives. For specific teams, expectations are not high, but for the Carolina Hurricanes, expectations have never been higher. General manager Don Waddell has brought in new faces to this team in the attempts to hoist the Stanley Cup and have one of the highest odds. As we enter the 2023-24 season, here are three bold predictions before the opening puck drop.
Winning the Presidents’ Trophy
The Presidents Trophy is awarded to the team with the most points during the regular season. For the Hurricanes, this is something they have never accomplished in their 25-year history. You can chalk that up as a blessing in disguise, as no team that has won the award has gone on to win it all since the Chicago Blackhawks did in 2013. However, if there was ever a year to win the award, the 2023-24 season is the year.
Head coach Rod Brind’Amour has this team playing at a high level, as they have won the Metropolitan Division three out of his five years behind the bench. Furthermore, the Hurricanes are coming off back-to-back 100+ point seasons. Entering the 2023-24 season, this team has more depth than during the 2022-23 season, which should propel them further in the win column. To accomplish such a feat, the Hurricanes will need their big-time players to contribute in impactful ways.
6 Different Players Reach the 20-Goal Mark
There was one common theme during the 2022-23 season, and that was a lack of finishing. The Hurricanes were among the best teams at 5v5 and did a tremendous job generating offense. They did a great job of possessing the puck and dictating the game’s pace. During the regular season at 5v5, the Hurricanes had the best expected goals percentage (60.14%), controlled the shot attempts (60.38 Corsi For), and had the second highest expected goals for (206.15). However, the team finished with a subpar -31.13 goals scored above expected. Given the talent up front and how much they generated, this was glaring.
It is a new season, and given the additions to the club, the team will be better at capitalizing on their chances. There is too much talent on this team, and given their style of play, they should bury the puck more. Adding Michael Bunting, who is coming off back-to-back 23-goal seasons, is a huge boost. A healthy Andrei Svechnikov will return, and Martin Necas will look to build off his career season. During the 2021-22 season, the Hurricanes had five players surpass the 20-goal mark. Entering the 2023-24 season, the Hurricanes will break that mark and have six players reach the mark. The players that should hit the mark are:
- Sebastian Aho
- Andrei Svechnikov
- Martin Necas
- Seth Jarvis
- Michael Bunting
- Teuvo Teravainen
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It will be great to see what this team can do offensively and how it meshes together. This chemistry will help the Hurricanes have something nobody has accomplished since the 2005-06 season.
Multiple 90-Point Players
The last time a player surpassed the 90-point plateau was Eric Staal. Furthermore, he hit the century-point mark during the 2005-06 season and was a crucial part of their championship season. However, since then, no player on the Hurricanes has come close to that mark, not even hitting 90 points. During the 2023-24 season, you will see multiple players hit the 90-point mark.
Given the depth, firepower, and ability to generate offense, the Hurricanes will have multiple players achieve this feat. If the team can increase their finishing ability, this will pair perfectly with increased point totals. Reinforcements are in to help the struggling power play, so that will also help with an increase in point totals.
The Hurricanes have immense depth and manage to get production from all four lines. These are the boldest of predictions heading into the new season, and they all are realistic.
Let’s Get Bold
These are bold predictions heading into the new season, but they have a real chance of coming to life. The Hurricanes are among the best teams in the league and look to be at the top of the hockey mountain.
This season could see this team have similar success to the 2021-22 Hurricanes, where they had contributions all over. With better depth, great things will happen for the Hurricanes.