Adam Proteau makes the case for the Carolina Hurricanes as a stronger Stanley Cup contender than the dominant Boston Bruins.
The Boston Bruins have been the category of the NHL this season, however not far behind, and considerably within the Bruins’ shadow, are the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes at present have the league’s second-best report (34-9-8), however there are superb causes to consider they’re the crew with the very best likelihood of knocking off Boston within the post-season.
We will, after all, level to the 2022 playoffs, by which Carolina eradicated the Bruins in a particularly aggressive, seven-game first-round sequence. Boston is a greater crew than they have been final 12 months, however you possibly can say the identical factor concerning the Hurricanes.
However right here’s the place the Canes might have a bonus within the coming weeks and months: they’re in a terrific place to make main additions earlier than the NHL’s March 3 commerce deadline.
Certainly, as per the invaluable CapFriendly, Carolina is projected to have greater than $10.1 million in salary-cap area by the deadline. And that cap flexibility extends into subsequent season when the Hurricanes have greater than $29.9 million in cap area.
That makes them a significant participant on the commerce entrance. Not solely might they purchase a high ahead to bolster their presently-very-potent offensive assault, however they may herald an above-average blueliner to enhance the league’s fourth-best protection. It’s under no circumstances tough to examine Hurricanes GM Don Waddell making offers to land Coyotes D-man Jakob Chychrun and, maybe, a ahead similar to Vancouver’s Brock Boeser.
Think about how a lot better that may make an already-imposing Carolina crew.
Waddell has the belongings to outbid different groups on the deadline – the Hurricanes have all three of their first-round draft picks within the subsequent three years, and their prospect pool, whereas not the perfect within the sport, nonetheless has ample depth to faucet into in a commerce or two. They don’t must deal away NHL-level expertise to make strikes match beneath the cap. They’ll merely add to the group they’ve proper now.
The opposite benefit the Hurricanes have over the Bruins – the Carolina market itself. Whereas many NHLers would love the problem of taking part in in a hockey-mad metropolis like Boston, there are gamers attracted by the comparatively laid-back setting of Raleigh. This isn’t to recommend Hurricanes followers aren’t simply as passionate or expectant about their crew. Relatively, we’re merely declaring the truth of life in a city the place you may get away from the game for some peace of thoughts.
We’re additionally not arguing that the Bruins shouldn’t be the odds-on favourite to win the Stanley Cup this season. They’ve earned that designation to date, and it’s fully potential Boston GM Don Sweeney can exit and land an essential veteran by the deadline.
However the truth is the Bruins are projected to have $3.25 million in cap area – one-third of what Carolina has. Boston must be artistic to be the successful bidder within the battle for elite veterans, and the Hurricanes have a transparent leg up on the Bruins in that regard.
The margin between successful and shedding within the first spherical final season was just one sport and one objective, as Carolina edged out Boston in a 3-2 Sport 7 victory. The identical showdown might come to be this 12 months – not within the opening spherical, however within the Jap Convention closing. That will be a marvellous sequence, and arguing that the Bruins would simply beat the Hurricanes is folly.
Of their two conferences this season, the Canes and Bruins have cut up the wins, however most lately, Carolina beat Boston 4-1. That’s much more proof that, whereas the street to the Cup doubtless goes by Boston, the Hurricanes have what it takes to be the crew that beats them when it counts.
- Are the Hurricanes a Higher Cup Contender Than the Bruins?
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