The NHL regular season is just around the corner. In anticipation, Eyes on Isles takes a look at every team in our division. What have they done to their roster, have they improved, and how will the New York Islanders fair against them?
The Carolina Hurricanes are long removed from that Stanley Cup championship season back in 2010-2011. Don’t expect that to change this year. The New York Islanders shouldn’t be threatened by the Hurricanes.
This is the fifth installment in our preview of the Metropolitan Divison, and how each team in the division stacks up against the Isles. What can we expect from these teams going into 2016-17? Here’s a link to the other previews:
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
The Islanders shouldn’t be worried about the Hurricanes usurping their spot in the playoffs this season. There’s much work that needs to be done with this roster, namely goaltending.
The ‘Canes weren’t Calgary bad last year, but they still finished 29th in the league in terms of save percentage with .902. And if you look at that table above, you’ll see they re-upped on Cam Ward.
A goaltender who’s nowhere near the same level that earned him a six-year $38.4 million contract back in 2010-11. That year Ward had a career-high .923 SV% with an unremarkable 2.56 GAA. Last season Ward had a .904 SV% and a 2.41 GAA. Just look at this casually scored goal against Ward.
Which really begs the question why the Canes signed him to a two-year $6.6 million deal? Sure, they got him for half price, but it’s not like he’s winning any games.
Lack wasn’t any better, setting a career-low save percentage with .901 and a career high goals against average with 2.81. The Hurricanes just can’t stop the puck.
With all that being said, would it be surprising to know that the New York Islanders still only went .500 against the Hurricanes? Losing two and winning two? And those two wins came in overtime and in a shootout.
The Islanders play the Hurricanes five times next season. Losing on two points from a possible eight is pretty good. Just like finding a dollar in your coat pocket is pretty good. We missed out on two points against the Hurricanes.
Those two points could have placed us above a wildcard position and kept us in the Metro bracket for the playoffs. We would have met the Penguins rather than the Lightning in the second round, so either way the matchup isn’t great.
But at least get to say we were better than the Rangers in the regular season. And that’s worth something…right?
The Hurricanes have a good team, goaltending aside. Their defensive core of Justin Faulk, Noah Hanifin, and Jaccob Slavin is young and very impressive. So long as Jeff Skinner stays healthy they have a great duo with Jordan Staal.
Bill Peters has a good enough team to compete, but ultimately there are some significant deficiencies in the lineup that will sink this team to the bottom of the standings in the Metro.
The Hurricanes have talent in some areas, but they just don’t know how to stop the puck.