Since capturing the Stanley Cup to complete the 2005-06 season, the Carolina Hurricanes have reached the playoffs on just one occasion.
Long mired by a lack of scoring, Carolina now appears determined to shatter their disturbing postseason drought, as the 2018-19 version of the Hurricanes is defined by speed, skill, and its elite young players. Soon to be led by Andrei Svechnikov — the team’s second overall selection in the 2018 NHL Draft — Carolina stands poised to enjoy a massive resurgence, and one which will see their playoff drought come to an end.
What’s more is that the Hurricanes also hold a number of prospects who should be able to influence the team in the coming years.
Stanley Cups: 1
2017-18 Record: 36-35-11; 83 Points
2017-18 Top Scorer: Sebastian Aho; 29G, 36A, 65Pts
Farm System Grade: B+
Top 10 Prospects:
- Andrei Svechnikov
- Martin Necas
- Jake Bean
- Adam Fox
- Warren Foegele
- Julien Gauthier
- Janne Kuokkanen
- Jack Drury
- Stelio Mattheos
- Aleksi Saarela
The State of the Hurricanes’ Farm System
Perhaps the most impressive feature of Carolina’s farm system is its depth.
Unlike many teams who boast prospect strength at one particular position on the ice, the Hurricanes hold depth at forward, defence, and in goal.
Outside of Svechnikov, Carolina holds Martin Necas, Warren Foegele, and Julien Gauthier — a trio of forwards known for their size, skill, and drive to succeed. Of these three, it is Necas who is undoubtedly the most promising of which. Nabbed by the Hurricanes with the 12th overall choice in the 2017 NHL Draft, Necas is a shifty and explosive skater who has come to be known for his creativity and confidence with the puck.
With both Necas and Foegele set to begin the 2018-19 season at the NHL-level, Carolina should receive a massive boost offensively if both can play at a consistent pace.
However, it is on defence and in goal where the Hurricanes’ true strength lays — an area which has come to define the franchise of late. Long known for their young and promising defence core, Carolina’s back end will only be strengthened in the coming years as additional prospects push for playing time.
Of note are Jake Bean and Adam Fox, two immensely talented two-way players who should enjoy long careers at the NHL-level. Bean, the Hurricanes’ first round choice in the 2016 NHL Draft, recently concluded a terrific tenure in the WHL during which time he recorded 196 points in 219 games played from the blue line. A dynamic puck-mover, Bean is similar in playing style to Jake Gardiner of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Further, in Fox, the ‘Canes boast an undersized yet incredibly capable defender who loves to contribute offensively. If both Bean and Fox can ascend to the NHL-level in the coming years and play stable roles, the Hurricanes could feature a deep and poised lineup capable of competing at both ends of the ice.
One Hurricanes Prospect to Watch
It’s hard to not talk about Svechnikov, as his strong two-way game should allow the youngster to make an impact with the Hurricanes this coming season.
Standing 6-foot-2 tall and tipping the scale at 190-pounds, Svechnikov boasts NHL size at the young age of 18-years and knows exactly how to maximize his physical gifts. Capable of protecting the puck with ease while meandering through traffic, Svechnikov is seemingly impossible to knock off of the puck and becomes a takeaway hound if he happens to turn over possession.
Once in the offensive zone, Svechnikov’s size, polished skill-set, and internal compete-level allow him to dominate his competition with consistency. Capable of scoring from a distance owing to his stellar shot or from in-close to the goal given his size, Svechnikov stands as a versatile threat whose playmaking abilities remain dramatically underrated.
In the coming NHL season of 2018-19, expect Svechnikov to once again defy the expectations placed upon him. Although the Hurricanes’ roster remains a work in progress, Svechnikov’s skill set alone could initiate an offensive resurgence in Carolina.