NHL Power Rankings: Previewing the Flyers’ Metropolitan positon

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Flyers
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Carolina Hurricanes

Head Coach- Rod Brind’Amour (first season)

Key Returning Players- Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, Teuvo Teravainen, Justin Williams (C)

2018 Outlook

Justin: If ever there was a team that was in need of an identity, it’s the 2018 Carolina Hurricanes. Players like center Jeff Skinner and defenseman Noah Hanifin are gone, both in trades, and this team is now focused on its youth. It’s clearly rebuilding time in Raleigh. The team did add wingers Martin Necas and Andrei Svechnikov at the draft, and it’s likely those two youngsters will be relied on right out of the gate. Sebastian Aho will return as the team’s number one center, and while he’s not an elite talent, he plays hard and creates scoring chances. He’ll need to be this team’s leader on offense.

Defensively, the Canes added Dougie Hamilton in the blockbuster trade with Calgary that sent away Hanifan and two other players, and he’ll be the centerpiece of a defensive core that isn’t sexy on paper but can get the job done. Behind the bench, Raleigh’s favorite son Rod Brind’Amour will step in and attempt to change the culture. He will bring grit and a no-nonsense attitude, but it will take time to build this team in his own image. The biggest question for this team is goaltending, as they will be forced to rely on Scott Darling and Petr Mrazek. That doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.

Bottom Line: The Hurricanes always seem to play a competitive brand of hockey, and they’ll be that way under Brind’Amour, but there are too many questions in net and far too little depth up front for this team to be able to break through the playoff bubble, at least for now.

Prediction: Sixth in the Metropolitan Division, 83 pts

Anthony: The Hurricanes going through an identity change. Under new owner Tom Dundon, the Hurricanes managed to make no general manager want to work in the organization and get rid of fan favorite and second highest goal scorer on the team, Jeff Skinner. They made some notable defensive additions in Dougie Hamilton and Calvin de Haan, but outside of Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, they don’t have many standout offensemen. Plus the defense won’t matter all that much if Scott Darling doesn’t bounce back this season.

Bottom Line: The Hurricanes were underwhelming and remain underwhelming. Every year there is supposedly something about them that makes people think they’ll finally make it back to the playoffs. It doesn’t seem likely.

Prediction: Sixth in the Metropolitan Division, 80 points.