Random Thoughts On Random Teams: Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche

I have been trying to write a concise “30 Teams, 30 Thoughts” blog for months now, where I give one quick thought on each team. But with each team, the “thought” always gets longer, and pretty soon, they are long enough that five of them would not fit in a single blog, let alone 30.

Here are a few of those thoughts that are too long to be included with 29 others.

COLORADO AVALANCHE: The Colorado Avalanche need new ownership. Until that happens, the team is not even worth talking about. Yes, they have a lot of potential, and a lot of skill, but that’s been true for years and they haven’t built on it at all. Gabriel Landeskog is definitely a fantastic young player they added with the 2nd overall pick at last year’s NHL Entry Draft, but Avs ownership has done nothing in free agency, and actually gone backwards in the trade market. Trading Kevin Shattenkirk, one of the best young defenseman in the NHL, was a huge mistake, especially when the main asset coming back was also a young defenseman, Erik Johnson, one who probably isn’t even as good. Throwing in their one top-six forward with size was just gravy. Duncan Siemens better be good.

The Avalanche definitely has plenty of potential, and plenty of skilled finesse forwards, but the defense and forward depth needs work. Most of all, though, it’s the owners’ wallets that need to be worked a bit. The foundations of this roster are in place; they’re solid. Now it is time to build, to add. It’s time to spend. I’m not convinced it will happen, but the Avalanche won’t win a thing until it does.

Of course, you can make the same case against most teams that don’t spend to the cap, or close to it, but the Avalanche’s case is particularly egregious.

CAROLINA HURRICANES: Even as the Carolina Hurricanes sit last in their Conference, you can see why this franchise has been such a tough out in the playoffs. When they make it, that is.

They can skate as well as anyone. They’ve been able to for years, and drafting Jeff Skinner last year certainly did not hurt. It’s interesting, goals are so hard to come by now that the dead-puck era has returned–games are so often decided by one goal, and it seems the “elite” teams in the NHL today are the ones who win those one goal games the most, and the “bad” teams are the ones who lose them. I get the sense that is what has happened to the Hurricanes this season.

They are a young team, and they seem to be losing not from a lack of talent, necessarily, but from a lack of everything else. Their defensive core actually skates really well, to match their forwards, but do they both play smart on a consistent basis? Are they structured? Were they well coached before Kirk Muller came in? I get the sense that poor structure, defensive miscues, a lack of consistent grit, and ill-timed turnovers are to blame for the Hurricanes struggles on the ice more than anything, although improved depth on the lineup card clearly would not hurt. But, if you catch this team on a night when they’re playing confident and smart, they can actually be a pretty good team, even as currently constructed. A team that skates this well really should be a better team.

• On a side note, I believe the Hurricanes should re-sign Tuomo Ruutu. It’s not rocket science: if you want to keep improving, or at least prevent getting worse, you should try to keep your quality players. Ruutu is a very good player who brings a lot to the table, and as long as the Canes have the money to sign him (not a given), and he is willing to re-sign for a fair deal, I think you keep him.

Written By Shark Circle

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