Predicting the Hurricanes’ Top-6 Forwards for 2022-23

The Carolina Hurricanes’ forward group will have a different look in 2022-23. The most significant departures were Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter, who signed elsewhere after successful stints in Raleigh. However, the Hurricanes managed to grab a proven goal-scorer in Max Pacioretty via trade from the Vegas Golden Knights; unfortunately, he will be out for at least six months due to an Achilles tear suffered less than a month after the deal. General manager Don Waddell was also able to strike a deal with Martin Necas to keep the young Czech forward in Carolina.

Related: 3 Hurricanes Hot Takes for 2022-23 Season

The Hurricanes have the luxury of a lot of forward depth, including a solid mix of veterans and young players with scoring potential, which will allow for endless line combinations. Here’s a look at my prediction for the Hurricanes’ top-six forwards when the season begins on Oct. 12.

Hurricanes First Line

Andrei Svechnikov – Sebastian Aho – Seth Jarvis

The first line will feature superstar Sebastian Aho at center. The 25-year-old is entering his seventh NHL season and has grown into one of the premier centers in the NHL. Andrei Svechnikov should be beside Aho for most of the season after a career year in 2021-22, when he finished with a career-high 69 points (30 goals and 39 assists). Expectations are high for Svechnikov and Aho in 2022-23 since they are arguably the two most important pieces on the team, and their play will likely determine how far the team can go.

There are a few different options for the right-winger on this line. I think head coach Rod Brind’Amour will give the early nod to 20-year-old Seth Jarvis. He is coming off an impressive rookie campaign of 40 points (17 goals and 23 assists) and was a big contributor during the Hurricanes’ playoff run. Teuvo Teravainen will likely also see a lot of time on the right-wing beside Svechnikov and Aho this season, but given his experience and consistency, I think he is best suited for the second line beside a couple of young forwards who will see their roles increase significantly this season.

Second Line

Teuvo Teravainen – Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Martin Necas

The Hurricanes’ second line features Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Martin Necas who are both coming off underwhelming seasons, but management has expressed their belief in these two young forwards, and they should earn bigger roles in 2022-23. Kotkaniemi is expected to play like the 2C they are paying him to be, and management is optimistic that Necas can bottle that impressive play he’s displayed at times throughout his young career and deliver it on a consistent basis on the right wing.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi Carolina Hurricanes
Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Carolina Hurricanes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Despite the question marks surrounding these two, I think Brind’Amour will place Teravainen on the left wing on the second line for a lot of the season in hopes that his veteran leadership and consistent play can bring out the best in his young linemates. There’s also a chance that if Kotkaniemi has a rocky start to the season, Necas could get some starts at 2C. It’ll be worth keeping an eye on this line to see how they progress throughout the season.

Hurricanes’ Forward Depth Will Go Far

Despite the losses of Niederreiter and Trocheck and the Pacioretty injury, I think the Hurricanes will be just fine at the forward position in 2022-23. We will probably see a lot of mixing and matching at the wing positions within the top-six as Brind’Amour tries to find the best chemistry and production to help the Hurricanes be as strong as possible when it matters the most. With the team’s scoring ability and depth up front, I will be shocked if the team isn’t contending for the Stanley Cup again this season.

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