NHL - METROPOLITAN
Stadium: PNC Arena
Coach: Rod Brind’Amour
2022-2023 TEAM LEADERS
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The Carolina Hurricanes are a professional ice hockey team based in Raleigh, North Carolina. The team competes in the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference in the NHL. The Hurricanes have a strong fan base and have made several playoff appearances in recent years.
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After the Hartford Whalers were moved from New England to Raleigh in 1997, the team got a major overhaul. The old green and blue color scheme was replaced with red, black, white, and grey, with a red and black cyclone becoming the new logo of the franchise. Despite winning the Stanley Cup in the 2005-2006 season, the Hurricanes have only actually made the playoffs 6 times in their 22 seasons since relocation.
The Hurricanes struggled to find a strong team identity following their Stanley Cup win in 2006, failing to make the playoffs and mostly meddling around .500 nearly every year. However, there was a major culture shift in the 2018-2019 season, which saw Carolina go 46-29-7 and make the playoffs for the first time in 9 years.
After drafting young talent like Sebastion Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, and Andrei Svechnikov as well as acquiring other solid players such as Dougie Hamilton and Jordan Staal, the Hurricanes have had a winning record every season since and have now made the playoffs for 3 years straight. Just last year (2020-2021), Carolina won their division for the first time since 2006.
2022 Key Stats
The Carolina Hurricanes are continuing their string of successful seasons this year, currently considered as serious contenders for the cup with their solid goaltending and deep forward core. The Canes also currently lead the team in goals against, with only 66 total goals scored against them this season so far. This is largely attributed to the re-emergence of goaltender Frederik Anderson, who is coming off of a surgery last year when he was signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Playing for the Hurricanes has clearly brought Anderson back into relevance- the last two seasons, he finished with a .909 and .895 SV%, as opposed to his current .929 SV% with Carolina.
This can’t all be attributed to Anderson, however. The Hurricanes also boast two of the best two-way defenseman in the league in Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin. Despite not putting up monster numbers offensively, both defenders are excellent in their own zone and transitioning the puck out against any opponent; combine this with a dynamic forward core, and it isn’t hard to see how Carolina is dominating defensively this season.
Despite losing their top offensive defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Devils in free agency this year, the Canes have managed to fill in the gap on the powerplay with Tony DeAngelo, who was released from the New York Rangers last year after several locker room controversies. DeAngelo has managed to stay out of the news so far this season with Carolina, and has been putting up solid numbers offensively with 5 goals and 17 assists so far on the season.
The Canes offense this year is led by center Sebastion Aho, with 34 points in 28 games played. The other top 6 forwards have been phenomenal as well, with Teuvo Teravainen (25 points) and Andrei Svechnikov (24 points) also contributing to the top line.
The addition of Vincent Trocheck has filled in a big gap in the second line, allowing captain Jordan Staal to anchor the 3rd line. This is some serious depth down the middle, and additional wingers like Martin Necas, Nino Niederreiter, and off season acquisition Jesperi Kotkaniemi give the Hurricanes dangerous sociring potential up and down the lineup.
Championships Won by the Team
The Hurricanes have won the Stanley Cup once in their franchise history in 2006, though they have made the finals twice overall. Their first appearance in the Stanley Cup finals was in 2002 after defeating Toronto in a 4-2 series to win the east.
Team captain Ron Francis led the team in scoring during the playoff run with 6 goals and 10 assists, along with teammates Bates Battaglia, Jeff O’Neill, and Rod Brind’Amour. Unfortunately, Carolina ran into the peak of the Detroit Red Wings dynasty in the finals, losing in 5.
It was a different story 4 years later. The Hurricanes bested the Buffalo Sabres in a grueling, intense 7 game series to clinch their second Stanley Cup appearance, this time against an 8th seeded Edmonton Oilers on a Cinderella run.
The Hurricanes dashed the Oilers’ hopes of a miracle finish and won their first (and only) Stanley Cup in franchise history in a 7 game series, with goaltender Cam Ward winning the Conn Smyth trophy. Center Eric Staal was incredible during the run, scoring 28 points in 25 games as a 21 year old. Veteran Cory Stillman was close behind with 26 points, while Rod Brind’Amour led the team in goals with 12.
Important Team Events
Besides their Stanley Cup win in 2006, the Hurricanes have had a few major events in recent years. In 2019, the Hurricanes underwent a major culture shift after hiring Rod Brind’Amour as the head coach, introducing what they referred to as the “storm surge” after games. During the storm surge, Carolina Hurricanes players would take the ice and engage in a synchronized slow clap, slowly speeding up until breaking out into a full applause (not unlike the Minnesota Vikings “Skol” chant).
Players would celebrate after games in a variety of ways-some examples include pretending to go bowling on the ice or playing baseball with their hockey sticks. Now retired Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry famously made his feelings towards the storm surge known on air, calling the entire team “a buncha’ jerks.” The Hurricanes organization took the criticism and ran with it, selling Buncha Jerks t-shirts and merchandise and referring to themselves as such on social media.
On February 22, 2020, the Carolina Hurricanes lost both Petr Mrazek and James Reimar to injury in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Canes were forced to use the emergency goaltender in the Toronto arena, who happened to be the Leaf’s AHL affiliate zamboni driver, David Ayres.
Despite never playing an NHL game in his career, Ayres was able to hold on for a 6-3 win for Carolina against an explosive Toronto team, setting a new NHL record for oldest goalie to get a win in his debut at 42 years old. Ayres has since become a legend to the Carolina Hurricanes franchise, granting Ayres an honorary citizenship to North Carolina and naming February 25th “David Ayres Day.”
There are a few names synonymous with the Carolina Hurricanes, the most prominent being Ron Francis. Though he played the majority of his 23 year career with the Hartford Whalers, he returned to Carolina in 1998 for his twilight seasons. In those 23 year tears of play, Francis set records for most assists (793), goals (382), points (1175), seasons (16), and games played (1186).
The other big name that comes to mind when talking about the Canes is, of course, goaltender Cam Ward. Ward was active in the NHL from 2005-2019, staying on the Hurricanes for all but the last year of his career.
The Conn Smyth winner of Carolina’s cup-winning season of 2006, Ward finished off his career with a .908 SV% and set he franchise records for wins (318) and shutouts (27). In the 2008-2009 season, War set the franchise record for most single seasons wins with an impressive 39 successful starts.
The Carolina Hurricanes also notably had both Eric and Jordan Staal on their rosters at one point; the older of the two brothers, Eric, played for the Canes from 2003-2016, while Jordan Staal joined the team during the 2013 season and remains on the roster today as the team captain.
The Carolina Hurricanes have employed 5 total coaches in their franchise history, though the most famous (and successful) are Peter Laviolette and Rod Brind’Amour. Laviolette took over the head coaching position from Paul Maurice in 2003 and led Carolina until 2008, winning the Stanley Cup in 2006 and finishing with a 16-9 playoff record.
However, the regular season statistics were a bit more average, finishing with a total record of 167–122-34 in a 5 year span. Still, Laviolette was responsible for the franchise’s only cup win so far, and is respected as one of their better coaches.
Former Carolina Hurricane forward Rod Brind’Amour has been a huge addition as head coach for the Hurricanes since taking the role from Bill Peters in 2018, with a record of 120-66-20. This is clear evidence of the Canes finding a strong identity in the last few years under Brind’Amour, though his 17-17 playoff record is still looking for a bit more success.
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2006 with a win against the Edmonton Oilers. The Hurricanes also made an appearance in the finals in 2002, but were ultimately bested by the Detroit Red Wings.
Rod Francis, though some of his career was carried over from the Hartford Whalers.
In their 22 seasons in the NHL, the Hurricanes have only made the playoffs 6 times, with half of those appearances coming in the last 3 years.
Jordan Staal was named captain during the 2019-2020 season.
The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins have faced off against the Canes in some heated playoff series in the last few years, and most games against them tend to get quite chippy. In the 2019 off season, the Montreal Canadiens tendered pending Carolina RFA superstar Sebastion Aho an offer sheet in an attempt to snatch him away from the Hurricanes. Carolina not only matched the offer, but did the same thing to Canadiens RFA Jesperi Kotkaniemi 2 years later, successfully adding the young forward to their roster and creating significant tension between the two hockey clubs. Though Montreal is not competitive at the moment, this may be a rivalry worth watching as it develops in the future.