Before the 2018-2019 season began, not many NHL experts believed that the Carolina Hurricanes would be anywhere close to a formidable opponent, but they have been. So far, the Hurricanes are off to an impressive 6-3-1 start. With leadership from star forward Sebastian Aho as well as tenacity and a no quit attitude from other depth pieces on the team. They have earned themselves the nickname “The Cardiac Canes.”
In order for an NHL team to clinch a playoff berth, their best players must be producing to the fullest of their potential. The Hurricanes thus far, have been getting everything they’ve asked for and then some out of Aho.
Last season, the 21-year-old center was one of the few bright spots for the Hurricanes as he registered an impressive 65 points in 78 games. The big question coming into this season was whether or not he could take his game a step further and lead this Hurricanes team as their franchise forward.
After the first 10 games of the 2018-2019 season, Aho has overwhelmingly satisfied all expectations. The Finland native currently has 15 points in 10 games which is tied for ninth best in the league. In addition, Aho has begun the season by earning at least one assist in all of his first 10 games according to theScore.
If Aho maintains this point production pace, not only will the Hurricanes have an adequate chance of securing a playoff spot. He’ll also be leaving NHL scouts scratching their heads as to why he had to wait until the second round of the 2015 draft to be selected.
On top of Aho’s tremendous performance, the Hurricanes have also benefited from the work ethic of left winger Michael Ferland. Ferland was a key piece in the offseason trade that sent him and defenseman Dougie Hamilton to Carolina and players Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm to the Calgary Flames. The Hurricanes were hoping that the 26-year-old could bring some size and grit to this struggling team. So far, Ferland has come as advertised.
The 6’2” Canadian has currently registered 10 tallies in 10 contests. He has been most successful at hanging around in front of the net, jumping on loose rebounds, and depositing them into the back of the net. “He seems to be a pain in everyone’s spine as of late,” Colorado Avalanche radio announcer Conor McGahey said regarding Ferland.
Lastly, the Hurricanes have also gotten continuous production out of left winger Teuvo Teravainen. Teravainen had a breakout year for the Hurricanes during the 2017-2018 season after putting up 64 points in 82 games. This season so far, he has proved that last years performance was no fluke.
The Finnish countryman has matched Ferland by also registering 10 points in 10 contests. If Teravainen can improve on the successes of last season, not only will the Hurricanes be in a great position of clinching their first playoff berth in a decade. He’ll also have the Chicago Blackhawks wondering why they gave up and traded him away in 2016.
As a team, the Hurricanes lead the league in an important statistic. They are currently first in the NHL in shots per game with an average of 41.7 according to NHL.com.
The Hurricanes also attain one of the youngest and most skilled defensive core in the NHL with talented blue-liners such as Dougie Hamilton, Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce. On top of Aho, Ferland and Teravainen, the Hurricanes are set for another offensive upgrade once 2018 second overall pick Andrei Svechnikov develops into the elite sniper he is poised to become.
The Hurricanes currently hold the longest active playoff drought at nine years. However, with the pieces they contain and the strides they’ve made. The 2018-2019 season might be the one that snaps the streak.