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2022-23 NHL season preview: Carolina Hurricanes hopeful to take the next step

For the previous entry in this series of 2022-23 season previews where I cover the Calgary Flames, click here.

The Carolina Hurricanes fell short of expectations last year after they were upset in seven games by the New York Rangers in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With a few key pieces moving in and out of the organization over the offseason, Carolina looks to finally take that next step, and hoist the Stanley Cup.

The Hurricanes finished the 2021-22 season first in the Metropolitan Division with 116 points, and were picked by many to represent the East in the Cup Final.

Jaspers Kotkaniemi celebrates a victory with his teammates (Robert Willett/The News & Observer)


Carolina will open the season with an added sense of urgency, as they await the return of newly acquired forward, Max Pacioretty. Pacioretty was acquired by Carolina via trade with the Vegas Golden Knights back in July, that saw Pacioretty and teammate, Dylan Coghlan, come over to Raleigh in exchange for future considerations. Just a few weeks into his Hurricanes tenure, Pacioretty tore his Achilles heel during a workout and required surgery to repair the injury. Pacioretty will miss significant time to open the season.


But, when the Connecticut native does finally make his return, Carolina is hoping he can show the same brilliance he's flashed throughout his entire career. A healthy Max Pacioretty is key to the Carolina Hurricanes success this year, especially after losing so much of their core from last season, such as Ian Cole (TBL) Max Domi (CHI) Steven Lorentz (SJS) Nino Niederreiter (NSH) Brendan Smith (NJD) Tony DeAngelo (PHI) and Vincent Trocheck (NYR)

However, with the departure of so many players who helped Carolina rise to dominance last regular season, came the arrival of quite a few key additions. It's not like Hurricanes' management sat on their hands all offseason and refused to patch the holes that formed in their ship. Carolina brought in the aforementioned Max Pacioretty and Dylan Coghlan, Ondrej Kase and Paul Stastny signed to one-year deals, they traded for veteran defenseman Brent Burns, and also received prospect Lane Pederson in the same deal with the San Jose Sharks.

Carolina traded for Burns in hopes that he'll be able to fill the void left by Tony DeAngelo when he departed for the Philadelphia Flyers in free-agency this offseason. Burns and DeAngelo put up very similar numbers in 2021-22, albeit, DeAngelo played 18 less games than Burns did last season, but Burns did play a full 82-games last year compared to DeAngelo's 64, and that kind of durability can't be understated.


Once Pacioretty makes his return from injury, he'll be joining an already terrifyingly high powered offense that consists of stars such Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, and Andrei Svechnikov.

Carolina also remains home to the Jennings Trophy, as goalies Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta allowed the fewest goals in the NHL last season with 200. The Hurricanes are more than set in goal as we head into the season, but there is a small question surrounding Andersen's health. The Danish goaltender tore his MCL and missed the entirety of the playoffs last season, his second injury plagued season after he was limited to just 24 games the year before when he was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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