It is hard to point out the bad when you look at a team like the 2022-23 Carolina Hurricanes. This is a team that currently leads the Metropolitan Division and is the second-best team in the entire conference. But even the best teams can improve and get better. And with a team looking to capture the Stanley Cup, depth matters in the playoffs.
Areas The Hurricanes Could Look To Improve
The Carolina Hurricanes are a very good hockey team. They are smothering defensively (2.14 XGA per 60 minutes) and generating chances offensively (3.02 xGF per 60 minutes). They are a middle-of-the-pack team goaltending (.898 team save percentage) while also having a +4.7 goals saved above expected as a team. The biggest issue with this team is finishing. Despite a core group of Martin Necas, Andrei Svechnikov, and Sebastian Aho, the ability to finish has not been there. In fact, the 2022-23 Carolina Hurricanes rank dead last in goals scored above expected. It is not an ideal recipe come playoffs, where the competition gets more challenging. So what can they do to boost the team reaches the trade deadline?
As we all know, we live in a salary-cap world. And the Carolina Hurricanes do not have a ton of it to work with. Whatever moves they do make it, they even do, will take finesse and creativity. It is no secret the team could use a boost offensively, scoring goals and, most notably, a second-line center. Frank Seravalli recently reported that the team could look to grab a second-line center, and here are players that could be fits.
This would be the perfect player for head coach Rod Brind’Amour. He plays a similar style to what Brind’Amour played himself and is a legit top six-center. Not knocking Jesperi Kotkaniemi by no means, but it’s been a trial-by-error committee in that position, and the loss of Vincent Trocheck lingers.
O’Reilly has a cap hit of $7.5 million on the year and $3.85 million remaining. It would be very tight against the cap, but if there were a way to make it work, this would not be a bad idea. While the Blues are fighting for a playoff spot, they could be sellers at the deadline and trade their captain, who is a pending UFA. O’Reilly is off to his worst season, with 16 points in 37 games played.
This one is tricky but addresses the need. Reinhart could play center or wing, which helps provide balance to the lineup and gives the team options. Winger Anthony Duclair who had a career year last season, could make his return, and once he does, someone will need to head out. Enter Reinhart. Reinhart has two seasons left with a $6.5 million cap hit. This season he has 26 points in 41 games played, but last season he had a career-high 82 points. This addresses the present and the future of this team. The team could also seek out Duclair, who would be a welcomed addition to the club.
Stand Pat And Trade For Nobody
At the end of the day, the team could move nobody. Part of the problem is some key players aren’t hitting on all cylinders like they usually are. Max Pacioretty is just settling in after returning from injury. However, Teuvo Terravainen has only scored three goals in 30 games played. Carolina only has four players who have scored more than ten goals. If the other core members put it together and fire on all cylinders, then they are in great shape going forward.