Hurricanes face challenge of improving on 4-year playoff run

New York Rangers begin to celebrate as Carolina Hurricanes' Jordan Martinook (48) skates by at the end of Game 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, May 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

New York Rangers start out to celebrate as Carolina Hurricanes’ Jordan Martinook (48) skates by at the finish of Sport 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-spherical playoff series in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, May well 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

AP

The Carolina Hurricanes are experiencing the challenging extend of making a perennial Stanley Cup contender.

A 2nd-spherical exit to the New York Rangers highlighted the need to have for a lot more postseason objective scoring and much better special-teams perform. Nevertheless the Hurricanes have to decide how a lot to transform after putting up the league’s 3rd-finest file, a franchise-record 116 details and a second straight division title.

“Every 12 months when this ends, it is always tough,” Carolina mentor Rod Brind’Amour stated following Monday’s Game 7 reduction to the Rangers. “Tougher perhaps due to the fact I felt like we were in a unique spot this year. … And it is a further prospect – I never want to say shed – but it’s a different calendar year where by you really don’t get that opportunity.”

The objective has gone from currently being appropriate after a 9-12 months postseason drought to being elite in their present four-year run. Still the Hurricanes have found the previous two seasons close in acquainted setbacks: slipping in their developing in a collection with house-ice gain, losing the specific-teams struggle and stymied by an elite goaltender.

Previous year it was Tampa Bay and Andrei Vasilevskiy on its way to a second straight Cup, with the Lightning beating the Hurricanes in a five-activity second spherical series. This time, it was the Rangers and Igor Shesterkin beating a staff that experienced gained its first 7 postseason household online games but could not gain a highway playoff video game.

Brind’Amour explained very last yr there was “a following phase we have acquired to discover.” It appears to be Carolina is nevertheless hunting for it.

Some other issues to view in the course of the Hurricanes’ offseason:

Additional SCORING

Sebastian Aho (37 ambitions) and Andrei Svechnikov (30) led a team that relied on depth moreso than any leading-tier scorer.

“Do we have elite purpose scorers? Possibly not,” Brind’Amour claimed. “But we have good gamers. We’re developed a minimal otherwise than some other groups. That is Okay. You have bought to engage in to your energy.”

But the Hurricanes managed just 12 objectives on 234 shots versus Shesterkin (a 94.9% save percentage) in seven online games.

“As a ahead, you have acquired to find a way, suitable?” Aho stated.

Special Teams

The Hurricanes experienced the league’s No. 1 penalty destroy in the course of the common period (88%) but could not stop Rangers scorers like Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Adam Fox. New York erased an -2 deficit by changing on 7 of 16 electric power performs (43.8%) above the past 5 online games.

Then there was Carolina’s electric power perform, which ranked in the top rated 10 before heading on a two-thirty day period swoon that carried correct into the offseason.

The Hurricanes went 11 for 98 (11.2%) dating in their final 31 game titles relationship to late March, together with 2 for 18 in the New York sequence.

Rewind a yr previously, and the Lightning converted on 15 of 36 ability performs (41.7%) as opposed to the Hurricanes likely 6 of 33 (18.1%).

“To get earlier this level and get above that hump, I consider you glance again at all our several years and I think specific teams is the issue it constantly comes down to – we drop the special-groups struggle,” defenseman Jaccob Slavin reported.

GOALTENDERS

The Hurricanes glance settled in net furnished top goaltenders Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta recuperate totally from injuries soon after assisting Carolina surrender the fewest ambitions in the league.

Andersen worked as the No. 1 and rated between the league leaders in wins (35), ambitions-against typical (2.17) and preserve share (.922) before going down to a lower-physique injuries in mid-April.

Raanta carried out effectively in the playoffs immediately after getting about right before going down to an apparent correct-leg injuries Monday, with Brind’Amour saying Raanta would not have been ready to play the upcoming collection experienced Carolina sophisticated.

The two are below deal next yr immediately after final season’s place overhaul.

UNRESTRICTED Free of charge Agents

Forwards Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter stand out as the team’s unrestricted free brokers.

The 28-yr-old Trocheck is a two-way centre who tallied 21 plans and 51 points. The 29-calendar year-outdated Niederreiter presents a even bigger 6-foot-2, 218-pound frame for a workforce that could use some size and completed with 24 plans although also functioning together with captain Jordan Staal on Carolina’s prime defensive line in the playoffs.

Some others involve forwards Derek Stepan and Max Domi, together with defensemen Ian Cole and Brendan Smith.

Restricted No cost Brokers

Defenseman Tony DeAngelo arrived previous summer months with a one particular-12 months establish-it deal just after a tumultuous past. It worked out for the two get-togethers.

The 26-12 months-previous led Carolina defensemen with 10 plans and 51 details though becoming a member of Slavin on the leading defensive pairing and doing the job on Carolina’s best ability-perform device.

The Hurricanes also have restricted absolutely free agents in defenseman Ethan Bear – acquired last summer months in a trade but a wholesome scratch in the course of 14 playoff online games – and forwards Martin Necas and Steven Lorentz.

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