5 Things the Carolina Hurricanes Must Do To Make 2015-16 NHL Playoffs

By Jeff Henning

5 Things the Carolina Hurricanes Must Do To Make 2015-16 NHL Playoffs

Kris Versteeg, Nathan Gerbe
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The Carolina Hurricanes will certainly have some uphill battles if they are to make the 2015-16 NHL Playoffs. However, there are some positives and reasons for optimism for this roster. If the Stanley Cup experienced players can impart some of their knowledge on the young guns of this squad, the Hurricanes may surprise everyone when the regular season comes to an end.

5. Bottom Six Must Produce Offense

Brock McGinn
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5. Bottom Six Must Produce Offense

Brock McGinn
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If the top six fails to perform much like it did last season, the Hurricanes will rely on their bottom six for some kind of offensive consistency. The Canes may be thin on the offensive side of the puck, and players like Riley Nash, Brad Malone and Brock McGinn will look to give this offense a boost from time to time.

4. Youth Movement

Elias Lindholm
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4. Youth Movement

Elias Lindholm
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There are some young studs on this Hurricanes roster. From 23-year-old Jeff Skinner to 22-year-old defensemen Ryan Murphy, even 19-year-old D-man Noah Hanifin has contributed this season. Even top defensemen Justin Faulk is only 23 years of age. If these young bloods can post consistent offensive numbers it will go a long way in taking the Hurricanes through April and beyond.

3. Even Strength Play Must Improve

Jordan Staal
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3. Even Strength Play Must Improve

Jordan Staal
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Although this team has solid possession stats in the offensive zone, they are abysmal at even strength. Typically, the difference between playoff and non-playoff teams are their stats at even strength. Kris Versteeg and Victor Rask lead the team with a mere six points at even strength. If this team is going to make noise and sneak into the playoffs, these stats must improve.

2. The Staal Connection

Eric Staal, Jordan Staal
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2. The Staal Connection

Eric Staal, Jordan Staal
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Brothers Eric and Jordan were supposed to bring their Stanley Cup winning experience to this Hurricanes team when they traded for the younger Staal at the 2012 NHL Draft. Things haven’t exactly gone their way since then, but that’s not to say that either Staal can’t explode this season, which is exactly what the Hurricanes need. Both Staals will look to score more than 78 combined points this season.

1. Cam Ward Must Be Elite

Cam Ward
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1. Cam Ward Must Be Elite

Cam Ward
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If the Hurricanes are to have any shot at making the playoffs, Cam Ward will have to play the most integral role. A former Stanley Cup winner, Ward has the pedigree to be an All-Star goaltender. Also, with the lack of overall depth on this team, Ward will have to stand on his head close to every night. So far Ward has posted a 2.44 GAA with a .907 save percentage through nine games played.

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