5 Things the Hurricanes Need to do this Off-Season

With the off season underway I’m taking a look at every team and coming up with 5 things each team needs to do to have a successful off season.

For Carolina, they got lucky winning the 2nd overall pick in the draft, but other than that not a lot of things went right for this franchise after they went though a mediocre season with the record of 36-35-11, good for 6th place in the Metropolitan Division.

1. PAY THE PLAYERS

The Canes off-season starts with a few big name RFA's in need of new contracts. 2013 5th overall draft pick Elias Lindholm and 2015 5th overall pick Noah Hanifin lead the pack as both players will be expecting a significant raise off their ELCs. Other RFAs include wingers Philip Di Giuseppe and Joakim Nordstrom as well as defensemen Trevor van Reimsdyk and Klas Dahlbeck. 

They currently have 27 million dollars in cap space to pony up, so the Canes are sitting pretty with their payroll should be able to retain all of their players. I would expect Hanifin to get locked up long term while Lindholm has yet to hit the 20 goal marker has he enters his 6th NHL season. GM Don Waddell may want to look at a bridge contract with him to give him another chance to prove himself offensively.

2. DRAFT SVECHNIKOV

All the hype about this draft revolves around Rasmus Dahlin, but let’s not forget about Andrei Svechnikov. Svechnikov can score from anywhere on the ice and proved that this year for the OHL’s Barrie Colts scoring 40 goals in 44 games. One of my favourite characteristics about Svech is that he doesn't fall under the Russian “stereotype” by not being afraid to dig out loose pucks in the corners and doing his job defensively. 

For a Hurricanes team that didn’t generate a whole lot of offence last year, Svechnikov instantly fills the need of a star winger for this team. Expect him to start the year with the team, and end it on the top line and in the conversation for the Calder Trophy.

3. TRADE JEFF SKINNER

Sorry Canes fans, but the time is up for this once promising goal scorer. Don’t get me wrong the Canes are in need for scoring. But, Skinner has saw his role diminished to the third line on the club and I think it might be worth wild to entertain trade offers. It would be worth trying to acquire a promising goaltender to battle it out with Scott Darling or acquire some star power down the middle.

Like Buffalo, I would look at the Washington Capitals goalie Philip Grubauer, or even try to orchestra some blockbuster trade with Edmonton to send them Skinner to play with the King in return for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. It’s a long shot and probably need other pieces in the deal but worth considering. Acquiring another goaltender should be one of the top priorities for the Hurricanes.

4. ADD SOME DEPTH FORWARDS

Derek Ryan locked down the 4th line centre role last year for them and did a pretty good job scoring 15 goals to add to his 38 points. He is a UFA this year and I think they should bring him back again.

Another UFA on the market they should consider is the Leafs winger Leo Komarov. He would bring the much needed bite to the lineup and still has enough speed to keep up with today’s game. There’s certainly no shortage of talent in this league for the Canes to add and if they really want to compete in the Metropolitan Division there’s nothing wrong with adding some depth for insurance purposes.  

5. STICK WITH THE TREND

With the Ron Francis firing, who knows what direction this team is going to go in the future. But hopefully GM Don Waddell can stick to the current trend in staying young and staying fast. The best thing about this team is their d core. They are all locked up long term and a solid top-4 with Justin Faulk, Noah Hanifin, Jaccob Slavin, and Brett Pesce. The Canes also have some great D in the system in Haydn Fleury, Jake Bean and last year's 2nd round pick Luke Martin. With the prospects they have in the system the Hurricanes should be able to compete for their 2nd Stanley Cup in the next couple of years if they trust the process.

OVERALL

It was a swing and a miss on Scott Darling, but this Hurricanes team is a lot stronger then one would think. An upgraded goaltender plus Andrei Svechnikov and this team could be a Wildcard team next year and should at least challenge for the third spot in the division.

Up Next: MONTREAL CANADIENS

Thanks for reading.

Branden Scott