For me personally, the Carolina Hurricanes 2016-17 season seems to have had much more adversity than their 9-9-5 record might indicated. The primary cause has been the Hurricanes inability to close out games that they should have won. The season started with 2 horrid finishes that saw the Hurricanes blow 3-goal leads and most recently, the team lost a 1-0 win in the waning seconds and ultimately converted it to a shootout loss.
Nonetheless, here are a few silver linings in the Carolina Hurricanes 2016-17 season thus far:
1) Still within playoff reach
Despite the roller coaster ride to reach this point, the Carolina Hurricanes are only 3 points out of a playoff spot if you adjust for games in hand simply by creating the standings by games above .500. Right now, the Hurricanes are 3 points behind the Devils who I consider the #8 team by virtue of the fact that they are only 1 point behind Philadelphia with 2 games in hand.
2) Early road-heavy schedule
The 6-game road trip to start the season plus the recent stretch of road-heavy schedule means that the Hurricanes have played only 9 of 23 games at home. The Hurricanes are tied with the Devils for the fewest home games in the entire NHL.
3) The extra home games should help
By virtue of the recent 4-1 home stand, the Hurricanes are a solid 6-3 at home which means it is reasonable to expect the team to capitalize on the extra home games that lie ahead on the schedule.
4) Team is trending in the right direction
After a struggle in October, the Hurricanes were 7-5-2 in October. That represents a 94-point pace which is within a point or 2 of where the playoff cut line should fall in April. To play games that matter in late March, the Hurricanes simply need to keep doing what they did in November.
5) Potential upside exists
The Hurricanes roster right now consists of 6 players who are new to the team. That is in addition to more players who have moved up the roster into bigger roles. It is reasonable to believe that the players in these situations are likely to improve after they fully adjust to a new team, system and teammates.