clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

About Last Season: Front Office, Coaches

A historic regular season followed by a second-round playoff exit, it was a busy year for the Hurricanes.

2018 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Carolina Hurricanes 2021-22 By the Numbers

  • Record: 54-20-8, 116 points, First place in Metro
  • Playoff Result: Lost in Round 2, Game 7 to New York Rangers
  • Special Teams: 22% PP (13th), 88% PK (1st)
  • Advanced Stats: 55.77 CF% (1st), 58.07 GF% (3rd), 55.38 xGF% (4th), 54.67 SCF% (4th)

The 2021-22 season was a historic one for the Carolina Hurricanes, as the Canes set a franchise record in points en route to winning the Metro.

In the playoffs, the Hurricanes couldn’t get past the second round, falling to the New York Rangers in a seven-game set after taking care of Boston in seven games in the opening round.

Let’s take a look at the season that was for the front office and coaching staff:

Front Office

The 2021 offseason was a noticeably busy one for Don Waddell and company, as the Canes significantly retooled the team in a number of areas heading into the year.

For reminder’s sake, here’s a quick run down of some of the notable offseason transactions ahead of the 2021 season:

  • June 17 — Signed Rod Brind’Amour to a three-year contract extension.
  • July 22 — Traded Alex Nedeljkovic to Detroit for Jonathan Bernier (did not sign) and a 2021 third-round pick.
  • July 23 — Traded Jake Bean to Columbus for a 2021 second-round pick.
  • July 28 — Signed Jordan Martinook to a three-year, $5.4 million extension.
  • July 28 — Traded Warren Foegele to Edmonton for Ethan Bear.
  • July 28 — Signed Antti Raanta (2-year, $4m), Frederik Andersen (2-year, $9m), Ian Cole (1-year, $2.9m), Tony DeAngelo (1-year, $1m) and Josh Leivo (1-year, $750k).
  • July 29 — Signed Brendan Smith to a 1-year, $800,000 contract.
  • July 31 — Signed Derek Stepan to a 1-year, $1.35 million contract.
  • Aug. 26 — Signed Andrei Svechnikov to an 8-year, $62 million extension.
  • Aug. 28 — Signed Jesperi Kotkaniemi to a 1-year, $6.1 million offer sheet.

To say that there were some question marks surrounding some of the Hurricanes’ offseason decisions would be a bit of an understatement.

After finally breaking through to the NHL level and producing well, the Canes dealt away Alex Nedeljkovic and replace him and Petr Mrazek in net with the duo of Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta.

This one, a decision many doubted at first, ended up working out really well for the Hurricanes. Andersen and Raanta were both great in 2021-22, combining to win the Jennings Trophy for the Canes.

Waddell and co. also made a controversial decision to sign Tony DeAngelo when free agency opened, and on the ice it worked out well. DeAngelo was a bargain at $1 million for the 2021-22 season, producing really well for the team on the top pairing alongside Jaccob Slavin for most of the season.

The duo of Ian Cole and Brendan Smith were a fine third pairing together and both played essentially to their value, adding some depth on the blue line to fill out the roster. While neither did anything remarkable, neither was a massive detriment.

One of the splashier transactions that didn’t necessarily work out well for the 2021-22 season was the Ethan Bear-Warren Foegele trade. While Bear started the season well and on the top pairing, COVID sidelined him early and he never fully returned to form. Bear has filed for arbitration and he could still have a future with the Canes, but his 2021-22 season wasn’t what Carolina’s front office would have hoped for.

The Canes also agreed to decent-sized contract extensions with two players on the 2020-21 roster during the offseason last summer, one that was a massive deal for the organization and another that may very well age pretty poorly.

On the good end was the Andrei Svechnikov extension, as the Canes locked down the phenomenal Russian winger for the long term. On the maybe not so good end was the Jordan Martinook extension, as the winger and ‘A’ wearer got a three-year deal that certainly wasn’t worth the money in 2021-22.

And then the final big move for the Hurricanes last offseason was a doozy, as the Canes grabbed Jesperi Kotkaniemi from the Montreal Canadiens with a $6.1 million offer sheet. The 21-year-old forward was later extended (more on that in a bit), as the former first-round draft pick came in and had a bit of an up-and-down season. The $6.1 million hit in 2021-22 was obviously way higher than Kotkaniemi’s contribution, but the Canes had room for it and that’s just how offer sheets work. You overpay in year one to bring a player in that you like.

With all those moves, the Hurricanes front office put together a roster that went into the 2021-22 season on fire, winning its first nine games of the season.

Of course the start of the season doesn’t mean the end of work for the front office. Here’s a rundown of the major transactions from the Canes during the 2021-22 season:

  • Jan. 9 — Signed Jack LaFontaine to a 1-year, $910,909 contract.
  • Jan. 21 — Signed Jalen Chatfield to a 2-year, $1.525 million extension.
  • March 21 — Acquired Max Domi at the deadline in a three-way trade that saw the Canes part with Yegor Korshkov and Aidan Hreschuk.
  • March 21 — Signed Jesperi Kotkaniemi to an 8-year, $38.56 million extension.

The Jack LaFontaine experience was a weird little blur, huh? The Canes signed the University of Minnesota goalie in the middle of the college season, he played in two NHL games and allowed nine goals, and that was kind of it.

It was a cool story for LaFontaine to get his chance in the NHL all of a sudden, but he obviously wasn’t exactly ready for that stage. Still, he got to play in the NHL, got nearly a million dollars and got to start his professional career. In the long run, this didn’t really affect the Canes in any way.

A few weeks after the LaFontaine thing, the Hurricanes gave a very deserved contract extension to Jalen Chatfield, who played some time with the NHL team early in the season and looked like he belonged completely. A good singing.

And the final in-season contract move, the Hurricanes officially inked Kotkaniemi to an 8-year, $38.56 million extension the minute they were allowed to after the trade deadline passed.

With the signing, the Hurricanes secured the long-term future of Kotkaniemi with the team. And at this point, there’s no way of telling how this contract will pan out. Did Kotkaniemi have the 2021-22 season anybody would have wanted? No. Is he a supremely talented young player who was a first-round draft pick just a few years ago? Yes.

The Canes’ front office clearly likes what they see in Kotkaniemi, and it really is too early to tell if they are right or not.

As far as the actual trade deadline went, the Hurricanes were relatively quiet. The team brough in Max Domi, who other than scoring in game sevens in the playoffs, didn’t really do too much of anything.

The Canes like the group, and they didn’t really do much to change it at the deadline.

Coaching Staff

It’s hard to criticize much of anything that the Hurricanes did during the regular season, though if there was one big issue it was the inconsistency of the power play. The Canes finished the season 13th in the NHL with a 22% conversion rate, a number that dwindled down in the back half of the season as the man advantage started to struggle more and more.

Other than that though, the regular season effort from the team and staff was great. A lot of credit should go to goaltender coach Paul Schonfelder, who both Andersen and Raanta talked about during the year as really being helpful.

Tim Gleason did a lot for the Hurricanes’ penalty kill, which was the best in the league and one of the best the league has ever seen. Carolina had a lot of strengths in 2021-22, but the penalty kill was the strongest.

And then obviously, Rod Brind’Amour did what Rod Brind’Amour does. The team played hard night in and night out, and for the most part there were very few games where they just came out flat.

The sour taste with the team and staff comes from the playoff performance, where the Hurricanes couldn’t muster up a single road win and did absolutely nothing on the power play for 14 games.

With this roster and the regular season it had, a second-round exit in the playoffs is nothing but a disappointment for the squad. Is that all on coaching? Of course not. But the power play’s inability to get going was a massive detriment, and a lot of that can come back to scheme when the talent is as good as it is.

Exit Interview


How would you grade the Hurricanes’ front office and coaching staff for the 2021-22 season?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    A - Outstanding Performance
    (136 votes)
  • 60%
    B - Above Average Performance
    (257 votes)
  • 6%
    C - Average Performance
    (28 votes)
  • 0%
    D - Below Average Performance
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    F - Significantly Below Average Performance
    (3 votes)
424 votes total Vote Now

Other Season Reviews

Ethan Bear

Tony DeAngelo

Vincent Trocheck

Martin Necas

Ian Cole

Nino Niederreiter

Max Domi

Brendan Smith

Steven Lorentz

Derek Stepan

Jesper Fast

Jordan Staal

Jordan Martinook

Teuvo Teravainen

Brady Skjei

Brett Pesce

Jalen Chatfield

Jaccob Slavin

Frederik Andersen

Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Sebastian Aho

Seth Jarvis

Antti Raanta

Andrei Svechnikov