When the dust settled from the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, there was plenty to dissect, but the best one to look at was the Carolina Hurricanes.
While their championship run was marred by some of the worst officiating in NHL history, their stars are still going strong.
This was a team that had just been stripped of their first championship since 1995.
The Hurricanes finished second in the NHL with a 51-30-8 record and a plus-19 goal differential.
The biggest question was whether the team would make the playoffs.
But it was a disappointing season that will leave many wondering if the team was truly the one to have won a Stanley Cup, as it seemed the majority of the players were focused on their own careers.
It didn’t take long for the Hurricanes to realize that they needed to rebuild.
It was a tough decision for the franchise, but ultimately they were able to do it, bringing back their top-three defencemen, bringing in new coach Ron Francis and bringing back the goaltending that had given them a run at the Stanley Cup.
The team had a bright future ahead of them and they were finally able to build a winner for the fans.
But for a team with a lot of talent, it wasn’t the kind of season they were hoping for.
The 2018-19 season started with the team facing the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs and was plagued by a string of injuries.
The team was forced to rely on injured stars like Ryan Callahan and Cam Ward, two of the best players in the league at their respective positions.
The loss of Callahan would leave the Hurricanes with a depleted depth chart that saw their top defencemen like Colin White, Colin Campbell and Brandon Carlo step in.
The year ended with a loss to the Edmonton Oilers that saw them fall just short of the Stanley Cups final.
While they ended the year on a high note, they struggled with injuries to their key players like Connor Carrick, Alex Petrovic and Colin Wilson.
The organization went into next season with a much different outlook.
With a better foundation, the team took a step forward in terms of winning and putting together a successful run.
It wasn’t long before they took another step in their rebuilding.
They drafted the best defencemen in the country, signed their new goaltender, brought in some big-name free agents and got back to the Stanley Playoffs.
But it was still a long way from where they had been in 2017.
A lot has changed since then.
The 2017-2018 season saw the return of one of the top goaltenders in the game, Tuukka Rask, and a lot more depth and talent.
It also saw the addition of a new coaching staff led by John Tortorella, who brought in an extremely young coaching staff with a solid foundation.
A couple of key moves were made that helped bring a championship to the team.
First, the addition and signing of John Tortorak.
The first coach in franchise history to win the Stanley Championships, Tortoras first season in Carolina brought a different feel to the franchise.
Tortoreca is known for his coaching style and willingness to put the team first.
His aggressive style was a big plus for the team, which made him an instant fan favorite.
His arrival also brought a new team president, Marty McSorley, who came into the league as a successful assistant coach in the Montreal Canadiens organization.
He was also the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, so it’s no surprise that he is also a big fan of Tortorekas style.
While the team went through a few changes in the off-season, the most important one was the signing of defenceman Justin Faulk.
He signed a three-year contract with the club that will make him the team’s top defender.
The biggest change that McSora made was signing the veteran centre Max Domi.
The 31-year-old was a huge addition for the Blue Jackets.
Domi was a two-time Norris Trophy winner, a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy, and won the Norris Trophy in 2014-15.
The addition of Domi gave the Blue Jacket a top-pairing defenceman, which is something they had never had in the past.
He also gave the team an added dimension to the offense with the addition, in his first season, of new linemates Brandon Dubinsky and William Nylander.
The Blue Jackets offense would be one of their biggest weapons in the upcoming season.
It was a pretty strong season for the Carolina Panthers.
The top line of Cam Newton, Patrick Maroon and Jonathan Huberdeau led the way for the Panthers to a first-place finish and a Stanley Cups playoff berth.
The Panthers finished with a 42-38-11 record, which was good enough for a second-place playoff spot in the East.
The only problem was that they didn’t make the postseason.
They did, however, make a run to the Western Conference Final,