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Tweetmail No. 91: Best of 2015

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Happy New Year and welcome to a weekly feature on CarolinaHurricanes.com in which I take your Twitter questions about the Carolina Hurricanes or other assorted topics and answer them in mailbag form. Hopefully the final product is insightful to some degree, and maybe we have some fun along the way.

Let’s get to it in a special “best of” 2015 edition.

From Jan. 1 to now, it’s got to be Justin Faulk. He’s been outstanding for the Hurricanes this season, arguably their best player, and was a consistent performer throughout last season as well. From Jan. 1 through the end of the last season, he scored nine goals, five of which were on the power play, and added 20 assists. That’s 29 points in 45 games. His dominance on the scoresheet this season has been well-documented. He leads the Canes with 30 points (14g, 16a) in 37 games. Of those 14 goals, the first 12 were scored on the power play.

Oh, and he’s a stud in the defensive zone. He logs huge minutes – a 25:02 average to be exact – against the best the NHL has to offer. He’s pretty much guaranteed to be an All-Star next month in Nashville, and dare I mention his name in the Norris Trophy conversation for this year? I’m slightly biased, of course, but I don’t think it’s farfetched to believe that he is one of the best in the league who “demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”

I think I Noah guy …

(Aside from PNC Arena, of course, because seriously, this building is one of the best in league, especially considering it turned 16 this October. The staff here does an impeccable job in upkeep and making improvements throughout.)

I love visiting Madison Square Garden. The press row view can’t be beat; suspended above the crowd, you get a great view of the ice and a giant, crisp video board sitting right at eye level. It’s just a really great place to watch a hockey game.

I also have to throw the Bell Centre into this answer. The atmosphere in that building is special, and I always enjoy visiting Montreal.

I really should keep a running tab of his greatest, but one certainly comes to mind, probably because it was fairly recent.

We were in Philadelphia in November, and Victor Rask was approaching his 100th game. So, naturally, I asked Peters how Rask had grown in his first 100 games.

His response: “I think he's grown half an inch and 7 pounds.”

I suppose I walked right into that one.

Oh, yes. It’s been a good year for GIFs.

Here are some favorites from the latter half of the 2014-15 season …

Dance!

Dance

#FearTheGerb

Gerbe

Excited Caniac

Caniac

And this season?

Jeff Skinner = Cam Ward?

Skinner

Hanifin waves

Hanifin

Eddie’s victory dance

Lack

And, of course …

Dab on 'em

Dab

And we end this 2015 retrospective with a look to the future …

You said it best – the Hurricanes have some pretty awesome kids, and the future is very bright. We’ve seen a glimpse of it this year with guys like Noah Hanifin, Brett Pesce, Jaccob Slavin, Phil Di Giuseppe and Brock McGinn stepping in and immediately contributing. In ways, the future is indeed now.

There are also guys like Haydn Fleury, Roland McKeown, Sebastian Aho and Alex Nedeljkovic in the pipeline who are currently representing their respective countries among the best young talent the world has to offer at the World Junior Championship in Finland.

So what excites me most? It’s the sheer talent and depth you’ve seen assembled over the past few years. Building a capable pipeline of players isn’t an overnight project, and Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis has done an admirable job of stocking the cupboard over the last 20 months. Not to mention, he’s stowed away 10 draft picks in the first three rounds over the next two years.

It’s an exciting future, for sure. Some of it we’re witnessing today and some of it isn’t too far off.

***

Join me in 2016 for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you’d like answered or you’d like to share your resolutions for the new year, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.



Michael Smith
MICHAEL SMITH is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.

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