New Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters may have his hands full in getting the team to be a playoff contender, but he has big plans and hopes for the job.
Peters spoke with ‘Canes fans at the team’s Summerfest in Raleigh and as Chip Alexander of the News & Observer tweeted, what he wants to get out of his team in the upcoming season is, at the least, a much better power play.
Carolina’s power play was 28th in the NHL last season as they converted on 14.6 percent of their opportunities. One big reason for that was the inability to get team captain Eric Staal going with the man-advantage.
Staal had one power play goal last season and Peters said he needs to improve that for him because it’s “unacceptable” and the situation has to be remedied immediately. Tough to argue with that.
One way to fix that is to load up the first unit with the best players. Peters said the power play could have Staal, Jeff Skinner, and Elias Lindholm up front with Alexander Semin on the right point with either Justin Faulk or Ryan Murphy on the other side. With Semin blasting away and the forwards swarming the net, that might just work out.
As for Skinner, he wants to get him to be a 40-goal scorer and a plus-player. Say what you will about plus-minus as a stat, but Skinner is a minus-40 in 259 career games and was a minus-14 last season – an improvement over his minus-21 during the lockout-shortened 2013 season.
If the Hurricanes can get these issues fixed, they’ll be difficult to defend in the Metropolitan Division. Scoring on them, however, could still wind up being a problem for Peters to remedy.
NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the Detroit Red Wings host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can stream the game online here.
The Lightning made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015, but their journey almost ended in the first round at the hands of the Red Wings. Detroit shutout Tampa Bay twice in that series and the two squads were locked in a scoreless tie until the third period of Game 7.
Despite the fact that the Red Wings were a mere hair away from advancing instead of Tampa Bay, the Lightning are often mentioned as serious Cup contenders while Detroit is typically regarded as a good, but not amazing team. However, that gap isn’t entirely unjustified.
After all, Tampa Bay has a very effective core of forwards that features Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat. If the highly regarded Jonathan Drouin, 20, is able to build off of his strong start to the 2015-16 campaign then the Lightning’s offense could be even more dangerous this season.
Detroit certainly has some offensive star power too in Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, but the duo is 35 and 37 years old respectively. On top of that, injuries have been a recurring issue for Datsyuk, who isn’t expected to make his season debut until November after undergoing ankle surgery.
As good as those two forwards still are, the Red Wings have to hope that their younger players will be able to lead the charge sooner rather than later. The good news is that 19-year-old Dylan Larkin‘s campaign is off to a strong start with three points in two games while 23-year-old Teemu Pulkkinen scored twice on Saturday.
The Red Wings have opened the season with back-to-back wins against Toronto and Carolina, but tonight’s game represents their biggest test to date. Meanwhile, the Lightning are similarly undefeated after three games, but this contest will be particularly trying for them given that it’s their third game in four days.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Although Connor McDavid‘s NHL career has only just gotten started, is he already the league’s most important player? (Sportsnet)
While we’re on the subject of McDavid, what should we expect from him for the remainder of his rookie campaign? (NHL Numbers)
Jack Jablonski was paralyzed on Dec. 30, 2011 at the age of 16 while playing high school hockey, but that hasn’t ended his pursuit of a career in hockey. He’s spent the last two years hosting a weekly hockey-talk radio program and has now joined the Los Angeles Kings as a communications intern. (Orange County Register)
Arizona State has earned its first NCAA victory. (Arizona Republic)
The 2015 Calder Cup champion Manchester Monarchs got their rings. (LA Kings Insider)
The Anaheim Ducks and the Make-A-Wish Foundation gave 13-year-old Kai Quinonez, who was diagnosed with aplastic anemia four years ago, a tremendous experience. (Orange County Register)