Early on during the Hurricanes current playoff drought, the team saw a number of regular roster players and allegedly promising prospects leave the Hurricanes and then proceed to wind their way out of the NHL within a few years. Players like Jay Harrison, Nathan Gerbe, Patrick Dwyer, Chad LaRose, Alexander Semin, Jiri Tlusty, Tim Gleason and others play regular roles on the Hurricanes and then shortly thereafter find themselves out of the NHL. In addition, once promising prospects like Zach Boychuk, Chris Terry, Zac Dalpe, Ryan Murphy and others left and were unable to stick at the NHL level with other teams. Given that the Hurricanes were struggling in the standings, it was not surprising that players who could make the Hurricanes roster were not good enough elsewhere.
But in recent years a different roster phenomenon has occurred. Players who were struggling with the Hurricanes have thrived elsewhere. And players who were thriving elsewhere have struggled with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Prior to this year, the team had seen Eric Staal whose scoring had fallen to meager depth scoring levels rebound to score 42 goals and rejuvenate his career in Minnesota. And the team had also seen Eddie Lack and Scott Darling coming off of strong previous seasons make the jump to North Carolina and then flop spectacularly.
But with the significant changeover of higher-end prospects and players this past summer, the results are even more spectacular. Micheal Ferland and Jordan Martinook have fared well in a Hurricanes uniform, but Dougie Hamilton has struggled thus far generating a mixed review in total.
But what is most glaring is how spectacular Hurricanes players are faring in other uniforms so far this season.
Jeff Skinner has surged with 21 goals in 28 games and sports a massive plus 18 when the second highest on an upstart Sabres team is Jack Eichel’s plus 8.
After seemingly peaking as a modest depth scorer with the Hurricanes, Elias Lindholm has found a higher gear scoring-wise with 16 goals and 18 assists in 32 games.
Noah Hanifin’s transition away has been less spectacular, but he is somewhat quietly playing top 4 minutes on one of the NHL’s best teams after being a third pairing defensman with the Hurricanes.
And finally, Cam Ward and Marcus Kruger have not been immune to the Blackhawks’ woes and did not receive the same ‘Canes departure boost’ as the others. And Joakim Nordstrom and Derek Ryan have performed in similar depth roles after departing.
What say you Canes fans?
How do you explain this phenomenon?
The Hurricanes who have struggled for goal scoring could use Lindholm and Skinner’s totals, but would they have matched or even come close to those numbers in a Hurricanes uniform?
Is something within the Hurricanes organization, system or culture holding good players back such that they can only reach their potential elsewhere?
Is it possible that this is just a short-term blip and that the players excelling elsewhere in 2018-19 will return to Earth?