The Carolina Hurricanes are coming off one of their worst seasons since they’ve moved to NC in 1997. Their playoff drought has reached 6 seasons. The attendance was the lowest it has been at around 12,000 a night. With Ron Francis at the helm, though, things are looking up.
Everything Francis has done as GM so far is amazing. Throughout last season, he acquired many early round draft picks to start the rebuild, something Jim Rutherford never did. This summer, all the moves he has made have been steals. Drafting Hanifin at number 5 was a pleasant surprise as he was the best defenseman in the draft, expected to go number 3. It was the first time they drafted somebody every fan was hoping for. Acquiring Eddie Lack for just a 3rd and 7th round pick was unbelievable. With Carolina still hanging onto Cam Ward, they now have one of the best, if not the best, goaltending tandems in the league. Along with acquiring Eddie Lack, they made a deal with Anaheim, giving up Khudobin for James Wisniewski, a veteran top 4 defenseman. With Khudobin coming off a terrible season compared to 2013-14, at the moment looking like a one season wonder, getting Wisniewski is a huge boost to the team. With a future defensive core of Faulk, Hanifin, Wisniewki, McKeown, and Jordan, they may have the best defense in 2 to 3 years to go along with the great tandem of Ward and Lack in goal. It was noted as the best draft day in the Hurricanes’ history.
It look as though after that, the Canes were done. That is until they made another steal by acquiring Versteeg, Nordstrom, and a third round pick from Chicago for a 5th rounder and two prospect defensemen that aren’t likely to get a roster spot in the NHL anytime soon. This adds depth and a bit more scoring.
I look back at this summer the Hurricanes had, and it gives me a bit of hope for this season. Am I thinking this is a playoff season? No, but I believe they have a good chance to be competitive, and who knows, maybe they’ll be a dark horse; I won’t bet on it, though. This offseason has seen the most positive reaction from the Caniac fanbase in a long time and has given the fans more hope than they’ve ever had during this 6 year playoff drought. It makes me wonder if the attendance will be better this season, playoffs or not.