How Hurricanes have quietly been one of NHL’s best teams once again

Among a sea of elite contenders, the Carolina Hurricanes are not for the faint of heart.

There are sexier teams to be sure. Colorado won last year’s Stanley Cup largely due to its blistering pace. It’s a formula the New Jersey Devils have tried to replicate this year. Tampa Bay built its modern dynasty off an unmatched combination of lineup flexibility, elite players at every position and vastly superior goaltending.

The Hurricanes aren’t a team you’d recommend to a casual fan, but their success is undeniable. During their recent 11-game winning streak, they choked out opponents, all the while painting the portrait of an offensive juggernaut, even if few would associate them as a highlight-reel team.

We don’t want to bore you with an overly mathematical description, but here’s how the Hurricanes rank analytically, per Natural Stat Trick. 메이저놀이터

Pretty, pretty, pretty, good. Carolina is elite at sustaining offensive drives and creating shots, but perhaps more tellingly, it’s equally adept at suffocating the opposition. And this is perhaps because they Hurricanes have taken on the characteristics of their best defenseman, Jaccob Slavin.

Slavin is not a flashy offensive player. If you read into his pedestrian counting stats of two goals and 11 points, you would be prone to mistaking him as a middle-tier, stay-at-home defender. Slavin — along with New York’s Adam Fox — is the best defensive defenseman in the league. He is the best player at suppressing two-on-one chances, it’s his best trait, and the Hurricanes can afford to take a few more risks in the offensive zone knowing they have a magic eraser on the blue line.

It’s a stretch to call Slavin underrated, as he’s made an All-Star team and was the Lady Byng recipient in 2021 but he’s certainly deserving of a larger audience. It’s truly remarkable he can avoid staying out of the box while being asked to suppress chances at an elite level.