Eastern Edge: Offseason Outlook for the Hurricanes and Bruins

Eric Daoust

2016-05-24

Tuukka Rask - USA TODAY Sports Images

 

This week's edition of the Eastern Edge looks at the 2016 offseason outlooks for the Carolina Hurricanes and the Boston Bruins …

 

 

After covering the offseason outlook for the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators last week, we continue our climb up the Eastern Conference standings. This week will shine the spotlight on the Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins, two teams with different sets of expectations heading into the year and ultimately failed to qualify for a playoff spot in the East. The focus will be put primarily on the short-term rather than the long-term future, although the developments of the next few months will certainly have a great impact on keeper leagues as well.

 

Teams previously covered

Toronto and Columbus

Montreal and Buffalo

New Jersey and Ottawa

 

Carolina

 

Heading into this year, there was very little hope for the Hurricanes. The team had already missed the playoffs six straight years and had a dreadful roster on paper. To make matters worse, the team’s captain and face of the franchise Eric Staal was beginning the final year of his contract with a strong possibility he would not finish the year in Carolina. Furthermore, the rapid decline in his production in recent years was chipping away at his trade value.

Ultimately, Staal was traded to the New York Rangers in exchange for prospect Aleksi Saarela and two second-round picks. While all three assets could help he Hurricanes down the road, none are likely to be an impact player to help offset what Staal once meant to the franchise. This leaves the team in a difficult spot moving forward, as the roster is already lacking in high-quality players, especially up front.

With that said, the Hurricanes finished higher in the standings than expected with 86 points, 10 short of a playoff berth. This marked their highest total since 2011 when they had 91 points. Their strength was keeping the opposition’s shots on goal to a minimum, as they ranked fifth averaging just 27.6 shots against per game. They also finished sixth in penalty killing at 84.3 percent. Meanwhile, they were 18th in goals against due to below-average goaltending. Offensively, the Hurricanes struggled mightily finishing 27th in goals and 24th in power-play efficiency.

Up front, the Hurricanes lack star power and as a group possess very limited upside. The most fantasy relevant is Jeff Skinner who has had an up-and-down career but can be a lethal when he puts it together. After a down year in 2014-15, he bounced back with 2