In fairness, the Carolina Hurricanes did see a reasonable improvement in their overall defensive game. A year removed from allowing a total of 240 goals, the team managed to whittle that down to 209, good enough for a 17th place finish. Not great, but a solid improvement from the year before.
Sean Hill led the way in basically every category, racking up tons of ice time, playing in every situation, and finishing just 6 points out of the team lead in points. What really deserves praise is the fact that, on such an offensively inept squad and one with a lousy power play, Hill ended the year with 19 power play points.
The Hurricanes scored just 41 goals with the man advantage all season and Hill hand a hand in 46% of them. To put that in perspective, Dougie Hamilton has factored into a slightly lower percentage (very slightly) of power play goals by this year’s team. A team, I might add, that is much better offensively and has a much better power play.
Veteran Glen Wesley continued his solid defensive play, best evidenced by his team-best +18 rating. Again, I know that plus/minus isn’t the greatest stat, but when you consider that the Hurricanes finished the season with a -37 goal differential and that Wesley logged significant minutes, it’s no small feat.
The Hurricanes allowed 5 or more goals on 8 occasions, a notable improvement. Then again, we’re debating 5+ goals against games, so… In those games, the team posted an 0-7-1 record.
Now, let’s take a gander at the last line of defense.