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2022-23 Season Preview: Carolina Hurricanes

The Canes have been developing into a real contender for years now. They have built quite a strong unit that is ready to go all-in on winning a cup. Their moves this off-season have backed that up. They have a strong group on all three levels and I will break down what to expect from this team in 2022-23.

Off-Season Recap

The biggest departures from the roster heading into 2022-23 are headlined by Tony DeAngelo, Vincent Trocheck, and Nino Niederreiter. Also headed to new teams are Max Domi, Ian Cole, and Brendan Smith. On top of that, Steven Lorentz was dealt in a deal with the San Jose Sharks. That brings me to the trades that the Canes made this summer. The first being one to land DeAngelo’s replacement. The Canes landed Brent Burns for a haul including Lorentz, a goalie prospect, and a 3rd-round draft pick. For more on that trade, check out my previous piece here. The next trade was one that landed the team both Dylan Coghlan and star Max Pacioretty. This trade was more of a salary dump for the Vegas Golden Knights as they just received future considerations. For more on that deal, click here.

These deals were the biggest moves for the team. Unfortunately, Pacioretty tore his Achilles after the deal. He will likely be out until February at least. So, the team will have to find a way to stay afloat while he is out, and hope that he is the same when he returns. The only other additions that will be NHLers this season are Lane Pederson and Ondrej Kase. The key piece to add to the fold does not come from an acquisition, but one from the farm system. Jack Drury is going to be at the NHL level this season, and should be a productive one. There will be more on him when we get into line projections. He will be the key prospect to watch this year. Another that will look to make more of an impact in 2022-23 is goaltender, Pyotr Kochetkov.

Projected Lines

These projected lines come from Daily Faceoff where they update projected lines year round for all of your favorite NHL teams. You can check the Canes’ projected lines here. Here is how the lines look as of today:

Forwards

Andrei Svechnikov – Sebastian Aho – Seth Jarvis

Tuevo Teravainen – Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Martin Necas

Jesper Fast – Jordan Staal – Ondrej Kase

Jordan Martinook – Jack Drury – Lane Pederson

Defense

Jaccob Slavin – Brent Burns

Brady Skjei – Brett Pesce

Ethan Bear – Dylan Coghlan

Goalies

Frederik Andersen

Antti Raanta

Expectations

As far as the forwards go, the unit has three new faces with Kase, Pederson, and Drury. They have a very balanced line projection right now. We all know Aho will produce, although it may come in streaks. Teravainen will produce as well. Jordan Staal has been consistent for years now. They have a solid a leader and point-getter on every line in the top nine.

Svechnikov is the guy I believe that needs to have an absolutely monstrous breakthrough this season for the team to get to where they want. After scoring 30 goals last season (career high), and Pacioretty down for a long stretch to start the year, the team will need him to flirt with 40 goals this season for their success. Jarvis will look to have a big year in his second season, especially if he is playing alongside Aho. Jack Drury gives their fourth line a ton of upside to produce. That would give the team a lot of depth and they will only get deeper if Pacioretty is able to come back from this injury.

The defensive group has new faces and familiar faces. Slavin returns as one of the best defensemen in hockey. Pesce, Skjei, and Bear also return to the team. The new faces are Coghlan and Brent Burns. Burns is a perfect fit for this team. They already have a very good defensive group, but they need a spark to their powerplay as it struggled immensely last season. Burns should be the spark they need. Coghlan on the other hand is a solid third-liner. The defensive group may also see Jake Gardiner return from injury at some point and could be an option on the third line as well. The defensive group as a whole is very good and should maintain a top tier penalty kill again this season.

Now, for the goaltending position, I would expect another dominant year from Andersen. Raanta is a good backup, especially when he has a good group like the Canes have in front of him. They should be set up perfectly in net with Kochetkov ready to step up because of injury. The overall group feels like it comes into the season with a lot of question marks. It could go really well for them, but could also go pretty poorly.

All in all, the expectation for the Canes should be at worst a wild card, but I believe they will have a top three team in the Metropolitan division without a doubt. They have stability at all three levels, and can score and defend. They kill penalties as well as anybody, and if Pacioretty works out, and Svechnikov takes another step forward, then they will have two elite goal-scorers to pick their powerplay up. This team has a lot of upside and it will be fun to watch them all year.

Predictions

Top Performers

Points: 1-Sebastian Aho (84), 2-Andrei Svechnikov (83), 3-Teuvo Teravainen (69)

Goals: 1-Andrei Svechnikov (39), 2-Sebastian Aho (35), 3-Martin Necas (26)

Assists: 1-Brent Burns (52), 2-Sebastian Aho (49), 3-Teuvo Teravainen (47)

Division Finish

I have the Canes finishing the season as the second place team in the division. This division is a lot weaker than in year’s past. There are two clear front-runners; them and the Rangers. These are two young and improving teams, meanwhile the rest of the division seems to be either aging fast, or still a few years away from playoff contention. If Pacioretty was healthy, I would have this team as the favorites to finish as the top team in the Metro again, but I will still give them the number two spot.

Season Ending

How do I see this team finishing the season? I believe the team has a ceiling to be Stanley Cup Champions. The floor should be a wild card round exit. If I had to predict their season finish today, I would say they will likely meet their fate in the Eastern Conference Finals. If everyone is back and healthy come playoff time, they have as good of a roster as anyone and should be due for another long playoff run. The team will have a lot of new pieces to watch and it should be an extremely entertaining season for Canes fans.

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