The Carolina Hurricanes are 41 games into the 82 game NHL regular season schedule. It has been a year of ups and downs for the Carolina Hurricanes, and they still find themselves in the playoff hunt. Let’s take a look at the first half of the Carolina Hurricanes season.
Record: 16-16-9 (41 points)
Home Record: 8-8-5
Away Record: 8-8-4
Place In Standings: 6th in the Metropolitan Division, 12th in the Eastern Conference (3 points out of the playoffs)
Longest Win Streak: 3 games (December 3-December 6)
Longest Losing Streak (Including OTL/SOL): 5 games (October 24-November 2 and December 20-December 29)
Leading Point Scorer: Eric Staal – 35 points (10 goals, 25 assists)
Leading Goal Scorer: Jeff Skinner – 19 goals
Those are some stats from the first 42 games of the Carolina Hurricanes’ season. The Carolina Hurricanes were plagued by two five-game losing streaks. They also were a part of a four-game losing streak and two three-game losing streaks.
The Carolina Hurricanes have been carried by Jeff Skinner and Eric Staal offensively thus far. Jeff Skinner has 19 goals, and he is a point per game player for the Carolina Hurricanes. Eric Staal leads the team in points, but he has not played well consistently.
Now that we have seen the Carolina Hurricanes’ stats from the first half, let’s take a look at some main points from the Carolina Hurricanes’ first 41 games.
One of the most commonly used terms from Carolina Hurricanes fans so far this year is “goalie controversy”. The Carolina Hurricanes entered the year with a clear number one goalie, Cam Ward, and a clear back-up goalie, Anton Khudobin. The Carolina Hurricanes had a solid start to the year with that system in place. They started 2-1-2 on the season playing against tough competition.
This system was put to a screeching halt on October 13th against the Phoenix Coyotes. Anton Khudobin got injured playing a puck far out from his net. Anton Khudobin was expected to miss a week or two with the injury, but as we all know, that did not happen. The Russian net minder missed two and a half months with the ankle injury.
The Carolina Hurricanes called up Justin Peters to fill the back-up role during Khudobin’s absence. The Carolina Hurricanes continued to win with Cam Ward in net. They were 2-0-1 following Khudobin’s injury coming into a October 24th game against the Minnesota Wild. That night, Canes fans saw their season slip away from them as Cam Ward left the game injured five minutes into the first period. Ward tore his groin, and Justin Peters was the new starting goalie of the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Justin Peters era started very rough. He was 0-5-0 from October 24 to November 2. What happened between October 5th and October 15th can be described as unforesen and unbelievable. Justin Peters turned into a star goalie during that time. He went 4-0-1 over the five game stretch, and once again, the Carolina Hurricanes had hope, and for the first time ever, the Carolina Hurricanes had a serious goalie controversy.
People around the state and around the league had their own opinion, and still do, on who the Carolina Hurricanes should trade when all three goalies finally get healthy. Unfortunately, when Anton Khudobin finally got healthy, Cam Ward got injured. The Carolina Hurricanes are expected to trade one of their goalies when they are all healthy, but that has not happened yet.
My current opinion is to trade Justin Peters, but my opinion has changed two or three times over the past two months. As we get closer to Cam Ward’s return from injury, we will be surrounded by more and more trade rumors, which is something that Carolina Hurricanes fans are now accustomed to. That brings us to our second point, trade rumors.
Trade rumors have been swirling around the Canes like a hurricane this season. Fan favorites like Tim Gleason and Tuomo Ruutu have been involved in rumors all year, and one of them has fallen victim to those rumors. As we all know, Tim Gleason has been traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for John-Michael Liles and a prospect, but the Carolina Hurricanes are likely not finished dealing.
The Carolina Hurricanes are likely going to deal one of their goalies once they are all healthy, like I said earlier. They have also been rumored to be interesting in adding a third-line center to add more scoring depth to the team. I think those two things will happen at the same time.
The feel I’m getting is that the Carolina Hurricanes may trade one of their goalies for a forward that could help the Carolina Hurricanes with their depth scoring problem. Personally, I am a fan of this happening.
The NHL deadline is March 5th, 2014, and there will likely be Carolina Hurricanes trade rumors swirling around until then.
Consistency has been the Carolina Hurricanes’ biggest issue. They play like a top NHL team one night, but they play like an incompetent team in the American Hockey League the next night. The Carolina Hurricanes lack of consistency is a huge reason that the Carolina Hurricanes are not a playoff team as of January 4th.
The Carolina Hurricanes do not play 60 minute games. They find a way to lose games in a span of 10 minutes, sometimes even less. Costly brain lapses will be death of the Carolina Hurricanes if they can not find ways to avoid them.
This issue is not one that can be solved by a trade. This needs to be solved by changing the mind set of the current personnel. If the Carolina Hurricanes can play 60 minutes, they will get much better results.
Through all the ups and downs, Jeff Skinner has been the brightest spot on the Carolina Hurricanes season thus far. Jeff Skinner has gone from a young, inconsistent, injury prone youngster to the NHL’s hottest goal scorer and under dog for the Canadian Olympic Team.
Jeff Skinner has been a treat to watch. He has shown that he is able to completely change the fate of a game at any moment. He has turned into a true game changer, and he has been a big part of the Carolina Hurricanes’ success this season.
That’s the mid-season review for the Carolina Hurricanes. To review, the Carolina Hurricanes have been carried by a lot of great individual performances. They have been a pretty inconsistent bunch, but if they can put 60 minute team efforts more often, they can be a very good playoff team.
If you made it this far, I have a question for you. Will the Carolina Hurricanes make the playoffs this year? Tell us what you think in the poll below!