The Carolina Hurricanes addressed plenty of needs this offseason but one question still remains on who will function as the “teams enforcer”.
With Michael Ferland effectively signing with the Vancouver Canucks, the Canes all of a sudden found themselves without an enforcer. Michael Ferland helped the Hurricanes make the playoffs for the first time in a decade, and his physical play was key in showing other teams the Canes weren’t to be messed with.
Ferland was third on the team last year in hits with 182 in just 71 games played. Ferland also finished 4th on the team in plus/minus with a +13. Ferland’s presence seemed to correlate with the Canes success, so the question is can the Canes replace him?
With Ferland missing a majority of the 2019 playoffs, the Hurricanes were able to advance all the way to the Eastern Conference finals. Does this mean that the Canes can be successful without his physical style of play? The short answer is no, but I believe the Canes have plenty of in-house options to fill Ferland’s “shoes”.
In the years the Canes didn’t make the playoffs, it was obvious the team was missing a physical style of play. Last summer, General Manager Don Waddell addressed this matter by acquiring Micheal Ferland, Jordan Martinook, Calvin De Haan, and Saku Maenalanen. With 3 of those 4 players not currently on the roster, attention points to forward Jordan Martinook.
Jordan Martinook was stellar last year, leading the team in hits with 199, while also producing 25 points for the team. Martinook may be relied on this year to be the Carolina Hurricanes’ “Physical Guy”.
There is no question that Martinook can help motivate this team to be more physical, and play a more intense game.
However, it may be a combination of players to help replace Michael Ferland, and not just one.
Jordan Staal has been a spectacular defensive center for awhile now, and he will likely be heavily relied on to add physicality to the team. Staal was ninth on the team in hits this year, however he only played in 50 games. Staal averaged about 2.5 hits per game and that number will likely increase next year if he remains healthy.
Although, it’s possible that the team won’t be relying on just 1 or 2 players to get the job done. Rod Brind’Amour has molded this team into something completely different that hasn’t been seen in years past. The team plays for each other and they play with a ton of aggression and physicality. Even without Ferland you can guarantee that this team will be a very skillful and physical group next season.
CC Readers: Who do you think could be the teams new enforcer next year?