The first BEARD Hockey regular season is in the books and it's time to take a look at how the Carolina Hurricanes and GM Jay Williams did.
The Canes drafted a team to compete for the Cup in the present and not the future.
The Canes started off slow going 5 and 5 in their first ten games which saw GM Jay Williams hit the trade button on his roster quickly. Fans were shocked when young franchise winger Andrei Svechnikov was shipped out to Chicago as Williams scambled to shore up his teams defense and spread out the offensive talent.
Trading Svechnikov did not seem to have the desired effect for the Canes as Williams hoped as the Canes went on a big slide going 6-14 in their next 20 games. Playoffs seemed a long shot at this point and morale took a huge hit in the locker room and in the stands.
It wasn't until Williams realized that Bobrovsky wasn't performing as hoped and he had to find a way to upgrade the goaltending. That's when Carey Price came to town and things seemed to turn at that point. Shortly after Price arrived, the Canes put together a 9-game win streak and found themselves into a Wild Card spot.
After the Canes steak finally ended to the Chicago Blackhawks, the team entered into a very up and down period all the way to the end of the regular season. The Canes failed to pull out must-wins and just seemed to crumble in extra time this year. The lack of finish in overtime and the shootout was the nail in their coffin as those missed points (even just one of them) held the Canes out of the playoffs.
The Hurricanes finished tied with the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs with 89 points, however; the Bruins won the tie breaker with more regulation wins.
The Canes will have some holes to fill this offseason as they are going to lose Brent Seabrook and Ryan Getzlaf to free agency and legendary defender Zdeno Chara is likely to retire (barring a miracle).
The good news is that the Canes are still in decent shape to contend next year, especially beginning the season with Carey Price and hoping for a better start. John Tavares had a huge season leading the team in points with 89 (39G, 50A). Zdeno Chara led the defense with 29 (4G, 25A) points and an impressive +24 rating. Price had 37 wins this year (25 with the Canes in 44 games) and posted impressive GAA 2.78 and a Save % of .912.
The farm squad Chicago Wolves had decent turnouts from point leader Morgan Geekie and young phenom Lucas Raymond. Both players should make a push for spot on the pro roster next season.
The Canes organization would like to wish the teams who made the first BEARD Hockey post-season good luck in their quest for the top prize, and congratulations to the Washington Capitals on winning the Presidents Trophy.
See you next year Caniacs!