As of Saturday morning, the Carolina Hurricanes have a 10% chance of making the playoffs according to playoffstatus.com. It looks like they have, once again, fallen out of the playoff race in Eastern Conference.
The Carolina Hurricanes have missed the playoffs four straight years going into this year, and barring some miracle, it will likely be five straight years in mid-April. The Carolina Hurricanes are the only team in Eastern Conference that has missed the playoffs every year since the 2008-2009 season.
The Carolina Hurricanes have crucial decisions to make this offseason involving “core players”, coaches, and management. Five straight years of no playoff hockey is unacceptable across the NHL.
Kirk Muller‘s time with the team has been disappointing. I have been a supporter of “Kirk is work” since day one. I always felt like he was one of the best young coaches in the league, but he has shown very little sin of improvement since he took over the head coaching job in November of 2012.
Out of all the struggles that the Carolina Hurricanes have endured, the power play reigns supreme. At this point, the coaches and players are both to blame for this, but the coaches have to improve this power play. They have not done that over the past two years, and there is no sign that it will improve.
In order for the Carolina Hurricanes to move on, the have to let go. This includes Kirk Muller. I think Kirk Muller’s time with the Carolina Hurricanes is running out.
Jim Rutherford, the man who hired Kirk Muller and will likely fire him, needs to be examined as well as the Carolina Hurricanes move into the offseason.
It seems pretty unlikely that the Carolina Hurricanes will part ways with Jim Rutherford. He is a part owner of the team, and he and Peter Karmanos have always been great friends. I would like a General Manager change more than anyone, but right now it seems unlikely.
Peter Karmanos, majority owner and chief executive officer of the Carolina Hurricanes, needs to put his friendship aside and really evaluate whether Jim Rutherford is capable of making the decisions necessary to lead this team the Stanley Cup playoffs again.
Core players that have led this team over the last few years need to also be reevaluated. Players that have been considered “untouchable” for years now need to be considered in play.
Looking at the Carolina Hurricanes right now, there are only a handful of players on this team should be considered untouchable. Justin Faulk, Andrej Sekera, Anton Khudobin, Elias Lindholm, Eric Staal, and Jeff Skinner are all players I think the Carolina Hurricanes need going forward. You can also make a case for a young player like Ryan Murphy who hasn’t really gotten the opportunity to develop into a full time NHL player yet. Jordan Staal is another play who I wouldn’t move right now.
While they may be untouchable, Jordan Staal and Eric Staal have to produce. At $6 million and $8.25 million per year, respectively, they have to be producing more consistently. They have to be offensive leaders on this team, especially Eric.
Everyone’s list of untouchable players will be different, but the Carolina Hurricanes truly need to make significant changes to the current roster.
The Carolina Hurricanes are going on five years of no playoff hockey. The play of this team has gotten to the point of being unacceptable. Top to bottom, things need to change in the Carolina Hurricanes organization.