In just about 7 months since taking over Tom Dundon has made quite a few changes to the Carolina Hurricanes organization. The new owner of the Hurricanes wasted no time in replacing both of the previous head coach and general manager roles filling these positions with Rod Brind’Amour as the new head coach and Don Wadell as the new general manager. Since making those changes in May, the Hurricanes have had an excellent draft including getting the 2nd overall pick and have also been making splashes on both the draft floor and during the free agent frenzy. Although there’s still plenty of time before the puck drops in October, lets break down the moves and changes that the Hurricanes have made in the past few months.
After finishing the season with a 36-35-11 record and missing the playoffs by 14 points, Carolina entered the Draft Lottery with the 11th overall selection. However, the Hurricanes jumped 9 positions to land themselves the 2nd overall pick for the 4th time in franchise history. The last time Carolina selected 2nd overall was in 2003 when they picked Eric Staal. Staal, who is currently on the Minnesota Wild, spent 11 and a half seasons with Carolina amassing 322 goals and 775 points in 909 games with the Hurricanes.
With the 2nd pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Hurricanes Russian winger Andrei Svechnikov. After the consensus that Rasmus Dahlin would be chosen first overall in 2018 NHL Draft the Hurricanes had a choice between Svechnikov and Czech winger Filip Zadina. Despite both players being excellent choices, Carolina selected Svechnikov and Hurricanes’ fans have a lot to be excited about. The 18 year old winger spent the past year playing for the Barrie Colts of the OHL leading the team in goals netting 40 goals and 72 points in 44 games. Along with this he added on 5 goals and 11 points in 8 playoff games for the Colts. Not only does Carolina get a strong, physical winger in Svechnikov, but they get a player who plays a complete 200 foot game while at the same time being able to score plenty of goals in creative ways. Tony MacDonald, the Director of Amateur Scouting, had this to say regarding the Hurricanes’ newest draft pick.
“He’s a complete player,” Director of Amateur Scouting Tony MacDonald said. “He can play the power game. He can play the finesse game. He’s big and strong and has skill.”
Eight days after being drafted by Carolina Svechnikov signed his three year, entry level contract during the sixth annual Hurricanes Summerfest in front of an estimated 4,500 season ticket holders. With his offensive ability Svechnikov is expected to make the Hurricanes out of camp and will be one of the players to keep an eye on from this year’s upcoming rookie class.
Although the Hurricanes made a huge addition by drafting Svechnikov, Carolina also made a huge splash by making the biggest trade on draft day. The Hurricanes sent pending RFAs Noah Hanifan and Elias Lindholm to the Calgary Flames for Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland and prospect Adam Fox. This trade is certainly an interesting one because on paper it looks like it could be an almost even swap. However, what awaits to be seen is what Hanifan & Lindholm sign for and how Hamilton and Ferland produce in Carolina.
Hamilton, 25, was drafted 9th overall by the Boston Bruins in the 2011 NHL Draft and had spent the last 3 years in Calgary where he excelled offensively. Last season Hamilton set a career high in goals scoring 17 while finishing the season with 44 points in 82 games played. Hamilton currently comes in at a $5.75 million cap hit for the next three seasons, with a modified no trade clause kicking in following the 2019 season.
Ferland, 26, was drafted 133rd overall by the Flames in the 2010 NHL Draft and had been a regular with Calgary since the 2014-15 season. Last season saw Ferland establish career highs in all categories scoring 21 goals and 41 points in 77 games. It’s unable to tell if this was due to the quality of his linemates on the top line of the Flames, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, but if he doesn’t produce up to the standards the Hurricanes expect from him, this is the final year of his current contract which only comes with a $1.75 million cap hit. Ferland can bring not only offense to the Hurricanes’ roster, but also some grit and physicality.
Lastly, the final two additions to Carolina’s thus far has been through free agency. The Hurricanes signed goaltender Petr Mrazek to a one year contract ($1.5 million) and defenseman Calvin de Haan ($4.55 million per year) for four years. de Haan, 27, was drafted 9th overall by the New York Islanders in the 2009 NHL Draft and spent the last 5 seasons as a regular on their blueline. Known as a defenseman with both defensive awareness and offensive ability, de Haan is a solid addition to the Hurricanes’ backend along with Hamilton. After tallying 1 goal and 12 points in 33 games last year, de Haan missed the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury. However, now repaired and all clear to go, Carolina is getting a solid defenseman who can immediately improve their top 4 both offensively and defensively. Along with this de Haan has been top 5 in blocked shots throughout the league in both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. With this addition to their blueline, Carolina has one of the better defensive cores in the Eastern Conference comprised of Brett Pesce, Jaccob Slavin, Justin Faulk, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Dougie Hamilton and de Haan along with Haydn Fleury.
The Mrazek signing comes due to the departure of longtime netminder Cam Ward after signing a one year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. Mrazek, 26, spent last season split between the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers where he gathered a 8-7-3 record, 2.89 GAA and .910% save percentage with Detroit and a 6-6-3 record, 3.22 GAA and .891% save percentage with Philadelphia. At 26 years old this term and money seem to scream that this is a “show me” contract. Scott Darling didn’t play the season he wanted as a first year starting goaltender and will be looking to bounce back. Along with this Mrazek will be looking to prove he can be a successful goalie in the NHL after having a poor outing last season. If Mrazek can regain his form and Darling can step up and deliver solid results in 50 or so starts, than the Hurricanes will be in a much better place than last year in terms of goaltending.
It’s incredible what can change in a year and I would argue that the Carolina Hurricanes have had one some of the biggest changes throughout the league from top to bottom within their organization. Whether that be securing a lottery selection and drafting an excellent young forward, changing ownership and management or adding to key areas throughout the offseason, the Carolina Hurricanes look to be a serious threat come puck drop in October.