The Carolina Hurricanes are as solid as any team in the NHL.
With a record of 41-13-5 this season, the Canes sit atop the Eastern Conference and find themselves in second league-wide. Carolina’s +59 goal differential is the fourth-best mark in the NHL, and its .737 point percentage is second.
On the surface, there is nothing not to like about the Hurricanes, and when you dig deeper, the same holds true.
Carolina is still human, as it can lose to any opponent on any given night. However, the Canes have been so consistent and so complete, that losses feel like anomalies, despite the fact that we know they have to happen.
I don’t think there has been one instance this year where the Hurricanes struggled enough that I felt concerned. Not once have I doubted whether or not this club is a legitimate Cup contender. When you look critically at this team, there is nothing that it doesn’t do well.
The Hurricanes have no weaknesses.
Offensively, Carolina boasts the eighth-best scoring attack, putting home 3.3 goals per game. That potency carries over into the power play, where the team is fifth in the NHL, converting at 24.9%.
When it comes to defense, no team in the league is better than the Hurricanes. The stingy D allows 2.36 goals per game, thanks in part to the fact that the team only gives up 29 shots per game (third-best in the NHL).
The penalty kill, accordingly, has been the brightest facet of Carolina’s game this season, as it is the best in the league. The Canes fend off opposing power plays 89.4% of the time.
So, the Hurricanes can play offense, defense, both special teams units are elite, and the team also happens to be the fifth-best faceoff team with a 53.3% win rate. Again, no weaknesses.
Individual strengths include goaltender Frederik Andersen. The first-year Cane is tied for the league-lead in goals against average (2.06), and his save percentage (.929) ranks second.
On offense, Sebastian Aho is 21st in the league in points (61), tied for 19th in goals (27), and tied for fifth in power play goals (12).
This is the time of year when every team across the league evaluates its roster to determine the best course of action at the trade deadline, but don’t expect Carolina to make any waves. I’m sure that the Hurricanes could make some type of improvement, but if the deadline comes and goes without any Carolina involvement, I think that will be just fine for this team.
With no true weaknesses to speak of, an argument can be made easily that the Hurricanes are the best team in hockey. If Carolina can maintain this level of play, it may be in line to win its first Stanley Cup since 2006.