5 Things We've Learned From the Carolina Hurricanes' Early-Season Action

By Jeff Henning

5 Things We've Learned From the Carolina Hurricanes' Early-Season Action

Cam Ward
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The Carolina Hurricanes are at a crossroads with their roster. There seems to be more interest in who’s available for trade than who’s performing on the ice. Here’s a look at five early-season thoughts on the Hurricanes and where they’re headed.

5. Goaltending Must Be Better

Cam Ward
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5. Goaltending Must Be Better

Cam Ward
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Both Cam Ward and Eddie Lack have achieved success at the NHL level, the former even winning a Stanley Cup. But through the first nine games of the 2015-16 regular season, the Hurricanes have allowed 26 goals in total. In all fairness, Ward has played above average with a 2.28 GAA and .908 save percentage, while Lack has 4.77 GAA and a measly .833 save percentage.

4. Possession Numbers Are Strong

Ron Hainsey
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4. Possession Numbers Are Strong

Ron Hainsey
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Usually it would be tough to say a team that has only scored 17 goals through nine games has had solid possession numbers, but that's not the case for the Hurricanes. Players like John Michael-Liles, Jeff Skinner, Chris Terry and Kris Versteeg all have a CF% of 58 percent or higher. So even though the team has yet to find the back of the net with consistency, if they can maintain their possession numbers, the goals will follow.

3. Even Strength Play Must Get Better

Nathan Gerbe
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3. Even Strength Play Must Get Better

Nathan Gerbe
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The biggest problem the Canes have run into so far this season is their play at even strength. Eric Staal and Victor Rask are the only players on the roster with more than one even strength point. To make matters worse, as a team they have posted a plus/minus rating of minus-42. If the Hurricanes are to make this season competitive, they must improve their play at even strength.

2. Young Defensemen Offer Bright Future

Noah Hanifin
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2. Young Defensemen Offer Bright Future

Noah Hanifin
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While it is true that the Hurricanes aren’t considered contenders for the 2015-16 season, they certainly have some young players who can bloom into superstars. 19-year-old defenseman Noah Hanifin has shown flashes of brilliance as well as 22-year-old defender Ryan Murphy. With time to grow and gain experience, there’s no telling where this team may be in just a few years.

1. Front Office Should Consider Dealing Staal and Ward

Eric Staal
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1. Front Office Should Consider Dealing Staal and Ward

Eric Staal
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Both Eric Staal and Cam Ward are entering the last year of their contracts, and both players could fetch a great return on the open market. The team has some nice young pieces that they can rebuild on, including Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm. If the Canes decide the right move is to deal Staal and/or Ward, they could stockpile high draft picks or more prospects that could eventually bring on a new era in Carolina.

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