Jeff Skinner And Justin Faulk Lead A Promising Youth Movement For The Carolina Hurricanes


Oct 17, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk (27) talks to left wing Jeff Skinner (53) during a break in the action against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. The Hurricanes beat the Maple Leafs 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes finished the season in the bottom-10 once again this season. It can be easy to be pessimistic about the Carolina Hurricanes, but the youth should give the fan base a lot of reasons to be excited.

Jeff Skinner, 22, had 33 goals for the Carolina Hurricanes this season. He led the club in goals, and he ranked second in points. He finished 13th in the NHL in goal scoring, and he was one of just three players under the age of 23 to finish in the top-15 in that category. Ryan Johansen and Tyler Seguin were the other two, and they are both on Playoff teams.

Elias Lindholm’s first season in North America was a successful one. He struggled through many injuries in his first year, but that is not something to be worried about. He played years of professional hockey in Sweden prior to being drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes. Swedish hockey is much different than North American hockey. The Swedish game is much more finesse. There is a lot of open room and little hitting. In North America, there isn’t as much space, and the players are bigger and more physical. Lindholm finished with 21 points (9 goals, 12 assists) in 58 games with the Carolina Hurricanes in his rookie season, and he showed that he has a very bright future in the NHL. He is just 19 years old.

Justin Faulk, 22, got off to great start, and he ended with a great finish. He struggled a bit at times in the middle of the year, but he was still one of the team’s best defensemen. He was able to form a great top defensive pairing with Andrej Sekera during the year, and he was a U.S. Olympian. Justin Faulk has a terrific future ahead of him, and the Carolina Hurricanes’ fan base should be very excited.

Ryan Murphy, 21, showed signs of brilliance during the 2013-2014 season, but he also struggled at times. He is a young offensive defenseman, and his development won’t always be smooth, that is just how it works. He will mistakes, but he will also make offensive plays that will help the team. Murphy was great at getting the puck up the ice. He was able to get the puck in the zone, but he didn’t know what to do with it from there. If he can learn how to make plays in the offensive zone more effectively and more consistently, Ryan Murphy will be a great offensive d-man for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Riley Nash, 24, finished the year pretty well. He played well with Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm, and that was very promising for his future. The Carolina Hurricanes haven’t been able to replace Brandon Sutter as the team’s third line center yet, but Riley Nash could fill the role very well next year if he has a good off-season with his conditioning and maturation as a player.

Prospects like Brock McGinn, 20, and Sergey Tolchinsky, 19, will compete for spots on the Carolina Hurricanes this upcoming season. Out of those two, I thin McGinn has a better chance of making the team. He is a tough player that will work hard the entire game. He also showed this year in the OHL that he can be a great scorer. He plays the game the right way. I could see McGinn coming in and playing in a checking role, or maybe even getting a bigger role with a guy like Jordan Staal if he impresses in training camp.

The Carolina Hurricanes also have the 7th pick in this year’s draft, so they could be able to pick up a top-notch player. Another great young player could really help this team improve.

Things may look bleak for the Carolina Hurricanes, but there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the team’s future.