In most sports fans minds, there is only one outcome they want to see for the upcoming season: my favorite team steamrolls the rest of the league and every other team has the regression monster slap them with a salmon across the face.
Sadly, it rarely seems to work out that way.
There are always teams that improve from year to year. And then there are those that you keep hoping to stumble and just don’t ever seem to manage that (looking at you, Chicago Blackhawks).
This summer, when talking over the latest trades, signings, and drafts of the NHL as a whole, I found myself actually looking forward to when one specific team starts to improve: the Carolina Hurricanes. (It really helps that they’re in the Eastern Conference so it’s easier to accept improvement there which is probably a big influencing factor, not gonna lie.)
Maybe I have a soft spot for the underrated hockey market in Raleigh. It reminds me a lot of the Dallas market when they first got here and started setting down roots, with a hard core base of fans and the pull of football to compete against.
Maybe I see a lot of parallels between the Hurricanes and the Stars. They rumblings of ownership change brings me back to the days of bankruptcy when Dallas couldn’t really afford to do much of anything to attract free agents or make trades to improve the roster. Likewise, it took time for the Stars to build a farm system worth writing home about to a degree, something Carolina has been going through lately as well.
Or maybe I enjoy the pieces that Carolina has quietly started developing. But the Hurricanes, to me, are a team I can’t wait to see making noise in the playoff picture. They’ve got some stellar young guns on their backend (Justin Faulk, Jacob Slavin, and Noah Hanifin are quite a set to build a blueline on). And Sebastain Aho is fun to watch up front.
So now that you know mine, I want to know yours: are there any teams, other than the Dallas Stars, that you secretly hope to succeed in the 2017-2018 season?