The Carolina Hurricanes have already played 21 games this season or just over 25 percent of their 82-game regular season. Although it’s only the middle of November, the team has played a good minority of the games for 2013-14.
Here are what’s good and what needs improvement:
- Team Defense: Last season, defense was a problem for the Canes, but gone this season are Bobby Sanguinetti, Joe Corvo and Marc-Andre Bergeron, which was a part of the problem. The replacements, Andrej Sekera, Ron Hainsey and Brett Bellemore, have made a much better impact on defense than last year’s trio. However, the d-corp isn’t the only players making a difference as defensive contribution from the forwards has also been a positive.
- Rookies: As mentioned earlier, Bellemore has helped the defense, but he’s not the only rookie making an impact. Ryan Murphy brought a lot of offense from the back end and Chris Terry has helped in shootouts over the past two weeks. All three could improve in some areas, but have gone beyond expectations this season. One rookie that needs to improve is Elias Lindholm, who is having a tough time in the AHL, while the Checkers are going through a rough stretch.
What Needs Improvement:
- Scoring: This one can’t be more obvious. The Hurricanes have had a tough time scoring with Jeff Skinner out of the lineup and the problems can’t be placed on one player or line. The first line has struggled along with Tuomo Ruutu, Jordan Staal and Nathan Gerbe at different points of the season. This team has enough depth at forward that scoring should not be an issue, but with Alex Semin injured for an unannounced amount of time, that may become more difficult to do.
- Goaltending Consistency: This may be a little bit of a surprise with how Justin Peters played over the past two weeks, but the goalies need to be more consistent in net. It took five games, including a rough outing against the Rangers for Peters to get into a groove. But the regular netminders haven’t been much better. Cam Ward will make a few great saves and then let in some soft goals. The only really consistent goalie is Anton Khudobin, but he only played two full games, both wins, before getting injured in his third outing.