As I watched the Los Angeles Kings hoist the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years, I couldn’t help but think of what the Carolina Hurricanes needed to get to the top. The Los Angeles Kings have size, speed, skill, and grit, but above all, they contain an abundance of leadership that the Hurricanes simply do not have.
There are many ingredients needed in forming a Stanley Cup contender, but leadership is arguably the most important one. Looking back at the 2006 Stanley Cup Carolina Hurricanes Team, there was one element of the roster that could not be overlooked. There were players that had been in the league for a long time and knew what it took to win. Mark Recchi, Doug Weight, Rod Brind’Amour, Cory Stillman, Ray Whitney, Glen Wesley, the list goes on and on.
The Kings could not have won the cup without the likes of Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik, Jarret Stoll, and Drew Doughty. All provided leadership to a very young team and helped push everyone to their highest level. When the Kings faced adversity, such as being down 3-0 in a series, there were veteran players to take charge and give the team direction.
Every good team has leadership. The New York Rangers have Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards, the Chicago Blackhawks have Jonathon Toews and Marian Hossa, and the Boston Bruins have Zdeno Chara and Jarome Iginla.
The Carolina Hurricanes seem to be missing the leadership that helped pushed them to playoff runs years ago. Without a good group of veteran players who have won and know what it takes to win, the Canes will not be able to compete with the best in the NHL. Eric Staal is definitely a star player in the NHL , but one can’t help but to question if he is a true leader. How many nights do you see the Hurricanes not moving their legs, not driving the net, and not playing with a high compete level for sixty minutes? The inconsistency does not happen by chance; it is largely due to a lack of leadership. A lack of players that drive the net, do the little things right, and do not take a shift off.
Young players such as Jeff Skinner, Justin Faulk, and Elias Lindholm cannot look to Alex Semin, Jordan Staal, or Andrej Sekera for guidance. Although all three are very good players, not one of them contains the NHL experience and familiarity with winning that it takes to be a good leader.
With veteran players such as Dany Heatley, Dan Boyle, Jarome Iginla, Daniel Alfredsson, and Marian Gaborik set to be free agents this summer, the Carolina Hurricanes would be wise to acquire one or two of them. Without true leadership on and off the ice, the Carolina Hurricanes will not find themselves lifting the Stanley Cup anytime soon.