Bill Peters, tasked with leading the charge for what could be an exciting era for the Carolina Hurricanes because of the young talent on the roster and coming up through the system, was awarded a two-year contract extension on Wednesday.
Only three teams in the league scored the same or fewer goals than the total of 198 managed by Carolina last season though.
Needless to say, that’s one area in which the franchise must improve if it wants to become a playoff team.
“We’ve got to do a better job offensively going to the net and staying at the net,” said Peters during a Wednesday appearance on Toronto’s SiriusXMNHL. “I was watching a lot of video in preparation for the meetings that we just had out in Kelowna. We’ve got to do a better job of being hard at the net and in the slot, and staying there and getting seconds and thirds. So I think that’s going to help.
“Our young D are going to be even more comfortable now. So all of those first-year guys, things will slow down for them now. So the plays that they didn’t make in the offensive zone or in the neutral zone, delivering the puck on time, they should be able to make. And that’s what it’s all about. It’s one thing to know the play to make, but you’ve got to make it on time. You can’t hang onto pucks too long in the National League. You’ve got to get it up to the forwards, and then jump and fill the hole.
“So I think we’re going to score more. I know we’re going to score more. The Stempniak signing. Bickell can shoot the puck. We know that. We’ve seen that. Lee Stempniak – proven 20 goals on average per year. And then Ahoand Teravainen. The push from behind too. We’ve had guys that play for us last year that played 30, 35 games. Some of these American League guy are hungry and have some offensive ability too.
“So we’re going to be able to score more. We’ve got to get our power play going. We’ve got to become more consistent and pay the price to score.”
The team got a taste of life without veteran captain Eric Staal when he was traded to the New York Rangers at the end of February, and he subsequently signed a three-year, $10.5 million pact with the Minnesota Wild during free agency.
How will the team’s leadership transform going forward then?
“The leadership by committee that you basically have now in the modern era is going to have to continue to evolve,” began Peters. “But I expect Jordan and I expect Justin Faulk, those types of guys, to emerge a little bit more.
“And what happened after the trade deadline is some of those younger forwards took advantage of the opportunity to play more prime time minutes, and one of the guys who did that was Jeff Skinner. I thought Jeff Skinner took a real good step for us, stayed healthy all year. Elias Lindholm, his numbers don’t show it, but I thought he had a good year. We used him in the middle, but we know we can play him on the wing, but he was drafted as a center. So that’ll be a decision we make moving forward.
“But I think everyone realized, ‘Hey, you know what? Eric is not here anymore. There’s 19 minutes available. There’s some power play ice time available. If I do my job, I’m going to get my opportunities.’ And that’s what it’s all about. When you get your opportunity and you’re prepared, you have to capitalize.”
Source: SiriusXMNHL/ Transcript: Nichols