Hey guys, Sven here with a look at the Carolina Hurricanes! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2018-19 fantasy hockey season: The 31 in 31 daily segment. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material!  Reminder that the stat totals are from last season.

Forwards

Sebastian Aho – 78GP 29-36-65. Aho’s breakout season last year was no surprise to the Hurricanes organization, and he is certainly poised to have another great season at #1C. The Hurricanes are going to be a young and exciting team, and expect Aho to lead that charge. I expect around the same point totals from him, +/- five points.

Teuvo Teravainen – 82GP 23-41-64. Much like Aho, Teravainen experienced a breakout season last year and will be expected to repeat his performance with so many young guys in the room. Personally, I am personally not sold on Teravainen just yet as a proven fantasy asset, but he is certainly worth taking a look at mid-draft. If this young Carolina team is going to have any success, him and Aho will have to be playing at their very best.

Jordan Staal – 79GP 19-27-46. I heard very little of Jordan Staal last season, however he was able to produce at a rate that was right around his career average. Depending on the Hurricanes’ line combinations, a player like Staal can benefit from some young talent on his wings. Brother Eric is still my pick to lead the Staals in points this year, however Jordan could see a bit of a production boost with the right wingers. I would consider him a low-risk option later in a deeper draft.

Micheal Ferland – 77GP 21-20-41. Ferland was able to find his scoring touch in spurts with the Calgary Flames last season, notching a career-high 21 goals. If Ferland sees top six ice again with the Canes, there is a good chance he’ll be able provide some secondary scoring behind the Finnish top six tandem in Aho and Teravainen. I see Ferland as a legitimate stream option, depending on his ice time.

Justin Williams – 82GP 16-35-51. Mr. Game Seven is another guy that could benefit from the fountain of youth Carolina will have up front. He has certainly regressed since his cup-winning stint in Carolina, but he was still able to crack 50 points this past season. At 36 years old, I would shy away from Williams. However, he may be a potential streamer if this team gets hot.

Defence
Dougie Hamilton – 82GP 17-27-44. Following speculation that Hamilton was an issue in Calgary’s dressing room, yet another fresh start for the 25-year-old may be the answer for a breakout season. Going into his sixth full season in the bigs, Hamilton is already on his third team, a team where he will receive ample opportunity to put up points. I expect Hamilton to receive top-4 minutes and quarterback Carolina’s #1PP. I strongly believe that his career-high of 50 points is well within reach this season.

Jaccob Slavin – 82GP 8-22-30. Going into his fourth season as a Hurricane, there seems to be no reason why Slavin can’t pick up where he left off going into this season. Dropping 30 points last season and 34 the season prior, Slavin is a guy that will consistently chip in, given his top 4 minutes and healthy dose of PP time. I see him as a low-risk pick in deeper leagues.

Justin Faulk – 76GP 8-23-31. Since Faulk has been counted on as Carolina’s veteran d-man, he has regressed nearly 20 points and plummeted to an awful -26 rating. However, with the addition of experienced blue liners De Haan and Hamilton, there will be much less pressure on Faulk to lead the corps. I do not expect him to flirt with another 50-point season, however he could see a slight increase in production. Faulk’s fantasy ranking has dropped dramatically over the years, so he may even be a steal of a draft in later rounds.

Goalies
Scott Darling – 43GP 3.18GAA 888SV%. In his first season as a starter, Scott Darling had a very difficult time figuring things out with the Canes. I do expect him to have a better season than last, however I would advise against drafting him. The sole reason for this is the fact that he will likely be splitting time with recently-acquired Petr Mrazek. He will however likely be one of the better goalies available in free agency in the event of injury.

Petr Mrazek – 39GP 3.06GAA 901SV%. Mrazek was traded in his third season with the Red Wings to the Flyers after 22 starts, and certainly showed regression from his early days in Detroit as the season went on. However, a change of scenery for the 26-year-old may be the difference maker. Over the course of last year’s fantasy season, Mrazek proved to have his hot streaks, and could very well earn a starting role over Darling at some point in the season. However, I expect Mrazek to be available on free agency for much of this season.

Rookies/Prospects
Andrei Svechnikov – OHL: 44GP 40-32-72. The Hurricanes drafted Svechnikov second overall in the 2018 draft. Though I have only seen a limited amount of footage on him, he has an unbelievable shot and ability to finish off plays. DailyFaceoff has him playing on Sebastian Aho’s wing on the Canes’ top line, so he is a safe pick as your rookie for this fantasy season, as he will have plenty opportunity to put the puck in the net.

Valentin Zykov – 10GP 3-4-7. The 2013 second-rounder finished the season with the Hurricanes, and seemed to find his groove in the ten game stint he received. Zykov is slated in the NHL full-time for 2018-19, after an impressive AHL campaign (63GP 33-21-54) where he showed off his lightning quick release. It has taken Zykov a few years to develop, but I have no doubt that this has benefited him, and expect him to pick up where he left off last season. He is still rookie-eligible, and depending on his linemates he could receive more opportunity than Svechnikov, Carolina’s 2018 first round pick.

Martin Necas – Czech: 24GP 9-8-17. With Jordan Staal regressing, Martin Necas appears to be the Hurricanes answer for a smart, explosive two-way centre. My only exposure to his play came at the 2017 WJC, where he tallied 11 points in seven games. He and Filip Zadina showed so much chemistry together on the PP that I was convinced Carolina would take him at second overall. Necas is able to play the game at a very high pace, and is exceptional when it comes to creating offence using his speed. If he is to centre a line featuring Teravainen, the two should be able to play off each other well and put together a nice season. Necas is yet another rookie-eligible Hurricanes forward, and I love watching him play. Hopefully he is able to find his game in Carolina.

Jake Bean – WHL: 57GP 12-36-48. With Adam Fox reporting back to the NCAA this season, Jake Bean is the lone defensive prospect for the Hurricanes worth talking about for this fantasy season. Though I did not like Bean’s showing in two WJC tournaments, I am doing my best to keep an open mind regarding the 2016 13th overall selection. Expected to start the year with Charlotte in the AHL, Bean proved his cannon of a shot and complete defensive game in his WHL career. It will be interesting to see whether he can find his game at the next level, however it is unlikely he will see the NHL this season unless injury occurs, with Haydn Fleury expected to occupy the sixth defenceman spot.

Saku Maenalanen – Liiga: 59GP 17-29-46. Maenalanen was a 2013 fifth-round pick of Nashville before logging a few seasons in the Finnish pro league. It was in the 2013 WJC where he not only led team Finland in goals, but played with fellow Hurricane Teuvo Teravainen, who led the team in points. After putting up decent numbers overseas last season, Maenalanen will receive his first taste of North-American Pro competition this season in Carolina. I do not expect anything crazy out of the 24-year-old, however reuniting him with his tournament teammate five years ago is so crazy, it just might work.

Alex Nedeljkovic – AHL: 49GP 2.55GAA 903SV%. Now two seasons removed from a lights-out performance for Team USA at the WJC, Nedeljkovic looks to have another solid season with Charlotte in the AHL. Though I do not expect him to receive any minutes with Carolina, the potential strength of his play coupled with potential inconsistency from Mrazek may earn him the backup position with the big club at some point.

Cliff Pu – OHL: 65GP 29-55-84. Though the main club is loaded with young talent up front, Charlotte will be lucky to have a player with such an interesting name like Cliff Pu. After back-to-back 80-point campaigns with London in the OHL, the 2016 third-rounder acquired in the Skinner deal from Buffalo will hopefully be able to find his game in the Pros. Much like Bean, I do not expect to see Pu in the NHL this year unless Carolina sustains some injuries up front.