Last week I said the following on Twitter:


Early positives have already started to trickle in from the outside NHL hockey world, and by early October I think the Hurricanes are destined to become 2017-18’s trendy pick for a surprise playoff team, a dark horse or whatever other term writers want to tag to an up-and-comer. And the pundits are right. With the NHL team improving and the prospect pool incredibly deep with players with top half of the roster potential, the trajectory is unmistakably upward right now. And I fully believe that the path to the playoffs in front of the Canes faithful is much shorter than the eight years of misses behind us.

All of these things are good, and in the long run the optimism will be rewarded.

But short-term, the surging optimism is a double-edged sword. With boundless optimism comes the risk of painful disappointment.

Even if the Hurricanes do improve again in 2017-18 as expected, the difficult Metropolitan Division probably still makes a playoff berth a 50/50 possibility. I took an early look at the Metropolitan Division on July 20. I will not reshash all of the details, but in short I see even lesser Penguins and Capitals teams as at least playoff-worthy and put only the Devils out of the playoff hunt. If you take that at face value, it means the Hurricanes have a two or maybe three out of five chance of clawing up into the playoffs. That is obviously possibly but not a sure thing by any means.

The challenge for Hurricanes fans is to have the courage to be optimistic for 2017-18 but also to temper it with a realization that anything can happen in the NHL and that the 2017-18 season is not the be all and end all.

If you have not stopped by yet, the Thursday Coffee Shop has a similar theme asking if the optimism is overdone, underdone or just right, what is a break even result for 2017-18 and more.


Go Canes!

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