2021 Carolina Hurricanes Season Preview: The Lineup

TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 03: Andrei Svechnikov #37 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates with teammates after scoring his second goal against the New York Rangers during the second period of Game Two of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 3, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 03: Andrei Svechnikov #37 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates with teammates after scoring his second goal against the New York Rangers during the second period of Game Two of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 3, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /
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RALEIGH, NC – JUNE 19: Rod Brind’Amour #17 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Edmonton Oilers in game seven of the 2006 NHL Stanley Cup Finals on June 19, 2006, at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Hurricanes defeated the Oilers 3-1 to win the Stanley Cup finals 4 games to 3. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC – JUNE 19: Rod Brind’Amour #17 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Edmonton Oilers in game seven of the 2006 NHL Stanley Cup Finals on June 19, 2006, at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Hurricanes defeated the Oilers 3-1 to win the Stanley Cup finals 4 games to 3. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Contenders or pretenders?

If you were to ask me if I thought the Carolina Hurricanes would win the Stanley Cup specifically at this moment in time, I’d be forced to say no. There are too many other teams who are equally talented, if not more so. Tampa Bay spring to mind, among a host of others. However, this isn’t all doom and gloom.

Carolina is outside the toughest division in hockey for the first time in 8 years. They play 6 teams they should beat comprehensively, and the Stanley Cup champions. I’m not going to say they should easily make the playoffs because nothing is easy in the NHL, but I struggle to see a scenario in which they miss the playoffs.

All they would need from there is a hot goaltender, and this is an organization with a history of making crazy deep playoff runs for no particular reason. When you think about 2002, 2006, 2009, 2019 they all have something in common and that was that the team had a hot goalie at the right time. Teams have won the cup beating far superior opposition with hot goaltenders, and Carolina could do that if Mrazek finds it at the right time.

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The defensive aspect of the team is Stanley Cup Caliber without a shadow of a doubt. The blueline is just incredible. The forward core has top-end talent and players that can produce outside of the SAT line. It’s a nice mix. It all hinges on the backend of the team, and this seems to be the story every year. If the goaltending holds up, who knows how far they could go?

With the new additions of Fast, and with Trocheck and Skjei playing more than 7 games for the team, there’s a lot to think positively about. It’s going to be a fun season, and while I wouldn’t make the Canes a favorite for the trophy, it would be incredibly brash of anyone to say they cannot win it. All the pieces (outside of the blue paint) are there.

It’s a short season, only 56 games. If the Canes treat it like an 82 game season and find their 2nd half form from the 2018-19 season, the league is in trouble. Being serious for a second, I want to be wrong. I want to see the Canes win the Stanley Cup. I’m assuming everyone reading this does. If not, you should have clicked off a while back.

It all starts soon. So, on behalf of everyone here at Cardiac Cane, I’d like to wish you all a happy holiday and to stay safe. Hockey starts in just a couple of weeks.

Question for Cardiac Cane readers: Are the Canes cup contenders?

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