It has been a bit difficult to find positive articles about the Carolina Hurricanes and their chances for this upcoming season but Andrew Berkshire of "Sportlogiq" seems to like the club's chances for improvement.
("Sportlogiq" is a new website/enterprise specializing in sports analytics. More about them in a future story.)
Those of you who said that the team looked more organized last year than in recent seasons, just using the eye test, can feel validated by this report.
As has been mentioned here on the blog previously, Berkshire points out that Carolina's possession numbers were actually pretty good last season.
Last season, the Carolina Hurricanes finished with the 12th best score-adjusted shot attempt differential in the NHL.
Berkshire goes on to talk about Carolina's excellent control numbers.
Surprisingly, according to Sportlogiq’s data, no team in the NHL exited their own defensive zone with control more often than the Hurricanes did, nor did any team enter the opponent’s zone with control more often.
The author goes on to attribute this success to tactics because let's face it, the roster is not exactly filled with all-stars. Kudos should go to the coaching staff's system for this success.
The bad news is that the team's combined even strength shooting percentage and save percentage stats were among the worst in the league.
Carolina finished the 2014-15 season with the league’s lowest even strength PDO, a combination of the second lowest team shooting percentage, and third lowest save percentage.
So what does this all mean?
Berkshire assumes that the goaltending will improve, (with the addition of Eddie Lack), and the Canes' big scorers will not all score at career worst levels again next season.
Even if the Hurricanes changed nothing, if the newly acquired Eddie Lack can provide league average goaltending in tandem with Cam Ward, the Hurricanes could go from -39 in goal differential at even strength, to just -14.
If Carolina's big-three of Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, and Jeff Skinner can return to their career average scoring production and the rest of the team can convert their shots at or near a league average shot percentage, the Canes could be the most improved team in the league. If that happens, the team would have a plus 57 goal swing, or go from a -39 to a +18.
Is this all likely to happen? Of course not and Berkshire states this as well, but according to the numbers, the Hurricanes should be improved. How much improved is up to them.
Be sure to check out this article, along with the charts and graphs at Sportlogiq.