Hurricanes Better Than 2022 Squad: A Healthy Frederik Andersen, Additions Of Orlov, Burns, Growth of Jarvis

The Carolina Hurricanes have the same culture as they had since the last time the New York Rangers played the club in the post season, but an altered roster. What's different this year?
New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Five
New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Five / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

The Carolina Hurricanes are a better team than the last time the New York Rangers faced them in the postseason.

The Rangers have played the Hurricanes twice in the post-season, in the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifying Round where they lost the series 3-0, and in 2022 in the Eastern Conference Semi-Final winning in seven games.

The Hurricanes in 2020, and 2022, made deadline additions but never brought in a big fish and struggled to remain healthy. Many players' contracts are up at the end of this season no matter the result, forcing the Hurricane's front office to make win-now moves last summer and at the March 8th trade deadline.

Brent Burns, Dmitry Orlov, Jake Guentzel, and Evgeny Kuznetsov are impact players who have excelled with Rod Brind'Armour behind the bench.

Burns, 39, was traded from San Jose on July 13th, 2022, and has recorded 104 points (28 goals, 76 assists) in 164 games as a Hurricane. Orlov, 32, left Boston in free agency and signed a two-year deal, posting 26 points (6 goals, 20 assists) averaging 17:18 of ice time.

These upgrades are significant additions over Tony DeAngelo and Ian Cole, who were in the lineup against New York two season ago.

As for the offense, the younger Hurricanes are now entering their prime. Sebastian Aho, 26, recorded 89 points (36 goals, 53 assists), a new career high for the Finn. He only recorded two goals against the Rangers in the 2022 ECSF.

Seth Jarvis, 22, had a breakout season. The Winnipeg native posted seven points (three goals, four assists) in five games against the New York Islanders in the ECQF. He posted eight points in 14 games in the 2022 playoffs.

Notorious "Ranger Killer" Jake Guentzel was acquired in a trade on March 7th for Michael Bunting, forward prospects Vasily Ponomarev and Ville Koivunen, forward Cruz Lucius, a conditional first-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2024 draft.

After a roller coaster year for Evgeny Kuznetsov, he has found a home centering Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen. The 31-year-old former 2018 Stanley Cup champion has 34 points (10 goals, 24 assists) in 40 games against New York.

The 'Canes did not have a significant goal scorer before Guentzels' arrival, and in 30 games against the Rangers, he's recorded 16 points (10 goals, 6 assists).

A healthy Frederik Andersen counts as an addition. When the 34-year-old goaltender is on his game, he can alter a series. His numbers are not staggering out of the first round against the New York Islanders, recording a .912 save percentage and 2.25 goals against average.

The starter signed with the Hurricanes as a free agent on July 28, 2021. He decided to stay in Raleigh on July 1st, 2023, agreeing on a two-year deal with a $3.4 AAV. Raanta was also resigned on July 1st. Andersen has never faced the Rangers in the post-season.

But the quality of the keeper is a step up from the last time the Rangers faced the Hurricanes in the post-season. In May 2022, the Blueshirts faced off against former Henrik Lundqvist backup Antti Raanta, who surrendered 13 goals and exited game seven with a lower-body injury.

Following a lights out start to the series, the Rangers elite offense made an example of how an admirable effort by a backup can stilly be outshone by top tier opposing talent.