Hockey season is nearing the start, and training camp is officially underway. The Carolina Hurricanes are a team to watch for and one of the more dangerous teams in the entire league. With critical additions made during the offseason, the time is now to capture the Stanley Cup. In what can be labeled as a Cup or Bust type of season, here are three reasons why they win it all in 2023-24.
During the 2022-23 season, the Hurricanes lacked goal-scoring. Despite a strong support cast up front, finishing and capitalizing on their chances was a glaring issue. The Hurricanes are an offensive machine that controls the game’s pace and always has the puck on their sticks. As an opposing team, you need to be ready defensively and prepare for such a strong attack.
At 5v5, Carolina was one of the best teams. They had the best Corsi For (60.38), Expected goals (206.15), and expected goals percentage (60.14). However, despite all that great offense generated, they finished with a subpar -31.15 goals scored above expected. With all the reinforcements added to the team, this is something that will change.
The mighty are getting mightier and added the right pieces to complement their puzzle. One unique aspect of the team is their ability to generate chances from the blue line. Although, one struggling issue was getting traffic in front of the net. The addition of Michael Bunting will help and can help create more chances that lead to goals. He has a nose for the front of the net and the high-danger areas and is coming off back-to-back 20+ goal seasons.
It was a weird, fluky season for the Hurricanes’ offense, which will be better going forward. Having that same inefficiency with finishing isn’t something that’ll linger into the 2023-24 season. On the back end with Dmitry Orlov and Tony DeAngelo and upfront with Bunting, the Hurricanes offense will be more potent. Pairing that with bounce-back seasons from Teuvo Teravainen and Seth Jarvis should see the team score in bunches. To go along with this goal scoring, impactful depth will play a factor in their capturing of the Stanley Cup.
A Plethora of Depth
One key to helping deliver a Stanley Cup is having adequate depth. For the Hurricanes, they have a plethora of it and are littered all over the roster. You look at the Vegas Golden Knights, who won it all this past season, they had depth throughout their lineup. Carolina is built the same way and has impactful depth everywhere.
Offensively, the Hurricanes have four lines they can rely on for production and effective play. Their third line of Jordan Staal, Jordan Martinook, and Jesper Fast was one of the more productive lines in the entire league. Not only are they counted on defensively, but they were able to generate chances offensively. Furthermore, the new look of the top two lines makes the Hurricanes much more profound than last season.
One area that the team and the system rely on is defense. Arguably, the deepest part of the lineup is the blue line, which is an area that will be a factor in them winning the Stanley Cup. Rod Brind’Amour has a good problem on his hand and can mix and match his pairs as he sees fit. As currently constructed, the lineup has five of six players that are capable of playing top-four minutes. It will be terrifying for opposing teams, as it will be tough to match up against them.
The Hurricanes had the lowest expected goals against at 5v5, showing how smothering they are defensively. The impactful depth across the board will help propel them to winning the Stanley Cup, but so will an intangible factor.
A Motivated Group
Winning has been a common theme for the Hurricanes, as they have won the division three years under Brind’Amour. However, capturing the Stanley Cup and reaching the ultimate goal has not happened. As a team, they are right there and within reach.
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There is no analytical data to back this intangible aspect up. After suffering a disappointing sweep to the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference finals, motivation will be the key. Since Rod Brind’Amour took over as the head coach, this group has developed something special.
This core group is no longer young and rising but has chemistry together. With all the depth in place and growth within their own individual games, putting it all together is a must. The Hurricanes, as a team, want to win, and after multiple second-round exits and shortcomings, know what it takes to get over the hump. Motivation will be a key to their success as they look to get the bitter taste of that loss out of their mouths. Furthermore, they’ll use that loss to push them during the 2023-24 season and be a reason why they capture the Stanley Cup.
Achieving the Ultimate Goal
After painful early exits, the Hurricanes can finally capture the Stanley Cup. With their impactful depth coming to the aid of their goal-scoring woes, the Hurricanes will be a problem all season long.
Motivation will be the key, especially for this core that has been together for quite some time. They’ve built the foundation that is in place today and will accomplish their goal. With a large chunk of this core group on expiring deals, wanting to win with each other will be a factor in their success.