Can Hurricanes Playoff Woes Be Chalked Up To Lack of Aggressiveness?

Can Hurricanes Playoff Woes Be Chalked Up To Lack of Aggressiveness?
Fact Checked by Christopher Boan

Few NHL teams have faced a greater dichotomy between their regular season exploits and postseason flops the way that the Carolina Hurricanes have over the last few years across NC sports betting

With five straight playoff berths, 226 wins (to 107 losses) and two trips to the Eastern Conference Finals since the start of the 2018 NHL season, there’s no doubt that the Hurricanes have emerged as one of the league’s fiercest clubs under Rod Brind'Amour’s leadership.  

That on-ice success has come at the cost of the team’s aggressiveness, however, based upon the Hurricanes' NHL-wide ranking when it comes to hits and fights.  

With the amount of fights and hits dropping in the NHL year-by-year, there's a prevailing thought that a team's grit and aggressiveness doesn’t equate to being successful in the modern age of the NHL.

BetCarolina.com utilized MoneyPuck.com to compile the amount of hits by each NHL team and HockeyFights.com to compile the amount of fights by each NHL team in the 2022-23 regular season to find the most and least aggressive teams.  

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NHL’s Least Aggressive Teams Of 2022-23 Season

Rank NHL Team Hits Rank Fights Rank
1Carolina Hurricanes30th (1,351)32nd (5)
2Buffalo Sabres32nd (1,084)T-29th (7)
T3Los Angeles Kings25th (1,742)28th (11)
T3Dallas Stars 26th (1,648)27th (13)
5New Jersey Devils 29th (1,366)T-23rd (14)
6Detroit Red Wings19th (1,812)T-29th (7)
T7 Toronto Maple Leafs23rd (1,775)T-23rd (14)
T7Colorado Avalanche 27th (1,613)19th (17)
9Anaheim Ducks31st (1,284)11th (25)
T10 Edmonton Oilers16th (1,874)T-23rd (14)
T10St. Louis Blues18th (1,814)T-21st (16)
T10Florida Panthers 24th (1,755)15th (21)

Where Hurricanes Ranked Leaguewide In Aggression

The Hurricanes finished the 2022-23 NHL season just ahead of the Sabres as the league’s least aggressive team, finishing 30th in hits (1,351) and last in fights (five). Buffalo finished last in hits (1,084) and tied for 29th in fights (seven) during the year, while both teams beat out the Kings, Stars and Devils, who rounded out the top five leaguewide.  

The rest of the NHL’s top 10 when it came to non-aggression were the Red Wings, Maple Leafs, Avalanche, Ducks, Oilers, Blues and Panthers. Of the 10 least aggressive teams by our metrics, only the Sabres (91 points), Blues (81 points) Red Wings (80 points) missed the postseason last year, lending credence to the idea that disciplined play is a way to win in the regular season.

Conversely, the Hurricanes had the best regular season of those teams, at 113 points, followed by the Devils (112 points), Maple Leafs (111 points), Avs and Oilers (109 points each), Kings (104 points) and Panthers (92 points) — all of whom had playoff runs of varying lengths this year, with the Panthers making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. 

In a year where Carolina finished 11.5 points ahead of their preseason points total (102.5) and atop the NHL’s Metropolitan Division (ahead of the Devils, Rangers and Islanders), there were no shortages of highlights for the Hurricanes, and they're expected to make noise on NC sports betting apps next year.

That said, there’s only one team that ends the NHL season hoisting the hardware, with the Las Vegas Golden Knights knocking off the Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers, who knocked Carolina from the playoffs this spring. 

While the discipline the Hurricanes show in the regular season enabled them to make a playoff run, should the club play more psychically in the postseason? 

After routinely coming up short in recent seasons, it may be worth considering. 

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Author

Christopher Boan is a lead writer at BetCarolina.com specializing in covering state issues. He has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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