Team: Carolina Hurricanes
Your 2015-16 Season
Did they even play? Think long and hard about this; can anyone actually recall a game last season involving the Carolina Hurricanes? I feel like everyone else just kinda hit "Sim" over that part of the schedule.
Anyway, they missed the playoffs for the seventh straight season, finishing ten points back. Also, their owner is actually being sued by his large adult sons, presumably because he drank their Yoohoo.
Your Head Coach
With the 11:00 nightly news, here's Bill Peters! What local anchorman's toupee did this guy steal?
Bill hails from the vaunted Babcock Coaching Tree; like virtually every coaching tree in existence, he is simply an inferior reboot of the original. His 65-99 coaching record over two seasons leaves a lot to be desired, but it's not entirely his fault. To date, he's put up with some bad goaltending, but with Cam Ward being a UFA, surely the Canes will make an upgrade.
Your Starting Goalie
....they did what?
Yes, after finally being free from under Cam Ward's albatross of a contract, the Canes are bringing him back for two more years at $3.3MM a season! I mean, it's not as bad at his last deal, but it's the principle of the thing. Cam Ward sucks. His entire career has banked off success that now occurred over ten years ago. Gnarls Barkley has produced more since 2006.
Not that they have many other options; their backup goalie is Eddie Lack, who apparently discovered last season that he is actually bad at hockey. It really makes sense for a team that was decent but for goaltending stick with exactly the same goaltenders as last season. Karmanos' large adult sons would probably kill for that kind of job security.
New Things That Suck
Acquired Teuvo Teravainen in a trade with Chicago, but that's not the important part. The important part is that to do that, they had to take on Bryan Bickell's contract and pay him $4MM to put up like 30 points. They also signed some UFAs in Viktor Stalberg and Lee Stempniak, because the Canes organization has yet to learn that signing ex-Leafs is not a key to success.
Speaking of ex-Leafs (at least in name), here comes Raffi Torres! You signed him to a PTO? Why did you do that? We were so close to achieving the dream:
That headline could've been reality, but you decided not to make it so. When Torres isn't spending his time off the ice parading around in blackface, farting on puppies, or running over small children in his SUV, he spends it on the ice trying to kill people. He didn't even play in the NHL last season! He's so bad, the last place Leafs acquired him in a trade contingent on him staying the hell away from them. If he makes the team, he'll last maybe 3 games before being given the NHL's first lifetime ban for lacerating a guy's spleen. I'm sure whoever your team's equivalent of Brodie Brazil is will remind us that he donated to charity in 2013 or something. Raffi Torres is a wrestling heel in a sport that is not at all staged.
Also, Ron Francis got an extension! Because when you take on a bad contract in a trade, re-sign your terrible goalie, and hand a tryout to someone who would make most convicted felons blush, you've earned another couple years! Ron Francis is that firefighter who stands in front of a burning house going "Well, I've put in my work today! Let's grab a beer!"
Also, there is only one Staal left, and it is the smaller, goofier Staal that you're still paying $6MM a season for some reason.
Things That Still Suck
This is the part of this post where I remind you annually that the Canes used to be the Hartford Whalers. Everybody loved the Whalers. They were a rag-tag bunch of plucky small-market underdogs that, gosh darnit, you couldn't help but root for! Sure, they never accomplished anything of substance on the ice, but there was a certain quaint charm to them. They had cool uniforms and Brass Bonanza, and were the small middleman between two easily hateable markets in New York and Boston.
Well, that's all gone now. This team relocating to Raleigh is the equivalent of paving over an entire tranquil lake and building a giant Walmart. Except it just happens to be a Walmart that no one actually goes to:
They drew an average of 12,000 fans last year. That's 1,000 less than Arizona or the Islanders! How sad do you have to be to draw less than the team in the desert located in a suburb no one cares about, or the team relocated further from its fanbase in an arena where no one can see anything?
I can't blame anyone for not showing up, either. The Hurricanes are a sterile rebooted version of an NHL franchise. Their jerseys look like they slapped their logo on some donated Team Canada designs. Have you read their roster? They have a Rask, a Lindholm, and a Michal Jordan, but not the ones that immediately come to mind. They even have an Erik Karlsson! Everything about their roster is store-brand. You're what would happen if President's Choice designed a hockey team.
Of course, the most unlikeable thing about this team is that they play in North Carolina, a state that is still trying to discriminate against people. This isn't shocking to me; once you get 20 minutes outside of Raleigh, you start seeing an awful lot of Confederate flags and NASCAR t-shirts, or sometimes a combination of both. Their definition of "rights" is the thing Dale Earnhardt did.
What Might Not Suck
Ehhhh, if you had a better goalie, you might have a shot at the playoffs. Maybe Lack bounces back and you actually sit Ward for a bit. Who knows?