For the better part of the past decade there have always been two things consistently holding the Carolina Hurricanes back.
The obvious one that always got the most attention was the fact they could never get their goaltending situation quite right.
Cam Ward never recaptured the magic he had during his rookie season Stanley Cup run, and there always seemed to be a revolving door of potential replacements that just could not fill that role.
The other big factor, one that always seemed to get overlooked in an endless barrage of “why can’t this team ever find a goalie,” was the fact that for all of their dominance as a puck possession team on the shot chart, they never really had any forwards that were great finishers. Jeff Skinner was really good for a few years, but he was always the only one and he could never do it all on his own.
The emergence of Sebastian Aho as a bonafide star, as well as the in-season trade for Nino Niederreiter, have helped address that issue in the short-term. But there is another player on the roster that might make an even bigger impact in that area in the future, and he is starting to make his presence felt as the Hurricanes enter the stretch run of the regular season and look to secure their first playoff berth since the 2008-09 season.
That player: No. 2 overall pick Andrei Svechnikov.
When the Hurricanes picked Svechnikov at the top of the 2018 draft there was obviously a great deal of hope that he could become a superstar player for the organization, and maybe the type of elite goal-scorer every contending team needs to win.