The Carolina Hurricanes will be an exciting team going into the 2020-21 NHL season. They have shown promise in the last two seasons and will look to improve upon what they’ve already accomplished. Here are five reasons why the Canes should have continued success in 2020-21.
5. Hurricanes Well-Positioned by Ownership
Tom Dundon as majority owner has demonstrated dedication to the success of the Hurricanes. He terminated the contract with long-time general manager Ron Francis in April 2018. This came a month and a half after he had named Francis President of Hockey Operations for the franchise. In a press conference following Francis’ termination, Dundon questioned organizational leadership and its ability to get the most out of what they had in player personnel.
Francis played a big part in the North Carolina professional sports community and managed the team for almost a decade. It was all too evident to Dundon that there needed to be a “major shakeup.” Francis had failed to lead the Hurricanes to a playoff berth in all nine years he was GM. Dundon’s actions back in 2018 have proved effective. The Canes have made the playoffs both seasons since. Dundon has positioned the team to repeat this going into 2020-21.
4. Great Coach in Rod Brind’Amour
Rod Brind’Amour is a players coach. He is very well respected by everyone within the Carolina organization and outside of it. He is known to get the best out of players by leading by example. He was the captain on the Hurricane team that won the Stanley Cup back in 2006 so he knows what it takes to compete at the highest level. Brind’Amour encompasses what ownership desires out of the players. He’s hard-working, disciplined, incredibly tough, and results-oriented.
In his first year as head coach, Brind’Amour got the Canes to the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons. He was the fastest coach to earn 20, 30, then 40 wins in franchise history according to the Canes’ site. Brind’Amour has led the Hurricanes to the playoffs in each of his two seasons as head coach. With an even more talented Canes squad going into the 2020-21 season, it stands to reason that Brind’Amour will be able to get the most out of his players and make another run for a playoff berth.
3. Solid Carolina Lineup
The Canes’ 2020-21 lineup outlook is significantly improved compared to the start of last season. The team added some depth by signing former New York Rangers players Brady Skjei and Jesper Fast. The top-scoring lines and defensive pairings will be exciting to see play in another season together. It will be interesting to see how they have built upon the chemistry they’ve cultivated over the last couple of seasons.
The top line of Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Terravainen, and Andrei Svechnikov could be the best in the NHL if they’re kept together. The top D-pair of Jacob Slavin and Dougie Hamilton will prove to be a solid shutdown line as well as very capable in the offensive zone. The defensive depth of the team is also worthy of note. There is no perceivable weakness on the defensive side of things for the team. Whatever the case over the course of the regular season, the lineup Carolina has going into the season is a great foundation for season success.
2. Emerging as a Contender in Metropolitan Division
The Hurricanes have finished fourth in the Metropolitan Division in each of the last two seasons earning sixth or seventh place in the Eastern Conference. This has been enough to earn wildcard positioning in the playoffs both seasons. The Metro is arguably the best division in the NHL. Teams like the Washington Capitals who won the cup three seasons ago and the Pittsburgh Penguins who won the Stanley Cup twice in the past five seasons are just a couple of teams who are always in the hunt out of the Metropolitan.
The Hurricanes have shown their ability to beat big teams out of their division when it mattered. They upset the Capitals in the 2019 playoffs which was the year after the Capitals won the Cup. They then went on to beat the New York Islanders, also a Metropolitan rival in the second round.
In the 2020 Qualifying Round, they swept the New York Rangers earning their first-round playoff berth against the Boston Bruins. There’s no reason to think the Hurricanes couldn’t continue their trajectory upwards in the Metropolitan Division and in the Eastern Conference. Their team is better with even more depth.
1. Something to Play for in Carolina
The Hurricanes have created a great hockey community in North Carolina. Fan support has increased with a winning team. The team has created fan-friendly interactions with ceremonies like the Surge. The catchphrase of “A Bunch of Jerks” has provided a sense of pride for the team and fans. Amongst the players, a competitive and fun atmosphere has built team camaraderie. All these factors will encourage players to play as well as they know they can and with great confidence. The Canes should be chompin’ at the bit to get the season underway.
The outlook is optimistic for the Hurricanes. The NHL has a tentative start date for the 2020-21 season scheduled for January 1, 2021. Fingers crossed that this plan for a season remains in our not too distant future. The anticipation to see the Canes play is surging. The Canes are an exciting team that has worked to be at the position they’re in going into the 2020-21 season. They look well prepared this season to earn it out on the ice and put tallies in their win column.