With half of the 2022-2023 NHL season in the rearview mirror, we can start to look ahead at some of the league’s playoff contenders. At the time of this writing, the Carolina Hurricanes currently sit atop the Metropolitan Division and are second in the Eastern Conference, trailing only the Boston Bruins.
After winning the Metro last year, the Hurricanes fell to the New York Rangers in seven games in the Second Round of the playoffs. Can the Carolina Hurricanes win the 2023 Stanley Cup after making aggressive offseason moves? Let’s take a look.
Carolina Hurricanes 2023 Stanley Cup Odds
According to BetMGM Sportsbook, Carolina opened with the fifth-shortest odds to win the Stanley Cup in 2023 at +1200. This put the Hurricanes behind the Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Florida Panthers.
As of Jan. 16, Carolina has the third-shortest odds to win the 2023 Stanley Cup at +750, only behind the Bruins and Avalanche. Rounding out the top five teams behind the Hurricanes are the Vegas Golden Knights and Maple Leafs.
Using Carolina’s odds, we can convert these into an implied probability to make more sense of what these numbers mean. At +750, this comes out to an 11.76% implied probability of the bet hitting.
Bettors should always be referencing multiple sportsbooks in a practice known as “line shopping”, and the Carolina Hurricanes 2023 Stanley Cup odds brings up a perfect example. On DraftKings, the Hurricanes also have the third-shortest odds. Contrary to BetMGM, however, their odds are +800. You always want to find the best odds for the best potential payout, so DraftKings is where you would want to place a bet on the ‘Canes.
Unfortunately for fans living in North Carolina, betting on their hometown team to win the cup isn’t as convenient as in other states with legalized sports betting. After a North Carolina sports betting law to expand wagering to online platforms failed at the end of 2022, bettors will have to travel to one of the state’s retail sportsbooks to place a bet on the Hurricanes.
The Case for the ‘Canes
After falling in the Second Round last year, Carolina made two key trades for veterans to bolster their squad. Defenseman Brent Burns and left winger Max Pacioretty both joined Carolina this offseason. The ‘Canes have started to see flashes of the Burns they were hoping for, and Pacioretty has recently returned to the lineup after suffering a torn Achilles in August. Both could be difference-makers down the stretch.
Although Carolina doesn’t have one super star player carrying the team, they’re getting solid production and contributions from the entire team. This is no more apparent than at the goalie position, where the Hurricanes have a huge advantage over most teams in the NHL.
Not only do they have a great pair of veteran netminders in Frederik Andersen and Annti Raanta, but we’ve also seen Pyotr Kochetkov called up to the NHL and play very well. In fact, at the time of this writing, Kochetkov is tied for the second-most shutouts with three. This is just one behind Washington Capitals goalie Darcy Kuemper, who at the time has started ten more games than Kochetkov. Having depth at goaltender is an absolute luxury and the ‘Canes can go three deep if need be.
The Hurricanes are middle-of-the-road in goals for, but rank third in expected goals for. They are first in scoring chances for, first in high-danger scoring chances for, and second in the league in shots on goal but are tied for the third-lowest shooting percentage.
There is also room for improvement with Carolina’s power play unit. After having a near 22% power play percentage and ranking in the top half of the league in the 2021-2022 season, the Hurricanes have slipped to 18.3% which ranks seventh-lowest in the NHL. On the plus side, they’re top five in power play opportunities. Defensively, they’ve slipped from their league-leading 88% penalty kill but still have a very respectable 80.65% penalty killing percentage this season, ranking 11th.
Although not perfect statistics by any means, Carolina is holding their own in both Corsi and Fenwick measures. The Hurricanes lead the league in both Corsi for and against as well as Fenwick for and against.
There are valid criticisms for both sets of stats, but it also goes along with what we’re seeing from the Hurricanes in terms of their offensive chances generated. If they can start getting some of these shots behind the goalie, they will be a very dangerous playoff team and their second Stanley Cup could well be within reach.