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Jeff's 2016-17 NHL Eastern Conference Spotlight Team
By: Jeff Hochman     Date: Oct 9, 2016
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Jeff's (JH-Sportsline) NHL Spotlight teams are squads that will make the playoffs (and/or improve by at least 15 points) after missing out the previous year. Jeff is a five-time NHL Handicapping champion documented by The Sports Monitor of OK. Jeff cashed a record 78.6% in 2013 NHL regular season and 70% in the Postseason. Jeff was ranked No. 3 last season. Do yourself a favor and jump on board. Full season NHL packages are now available. Or, go monthly for just $275 all sports. Jeff has the highest NHL winning percentage since 1998 in the Nation.


Jeff's 2016-17 NHL Eastern Conference Spotlight team: Carolina Hurricanes (2015-16 record: 35-31-16, 86 points)


The Hurricanes started very slow last season going 8-13-4 in their first 25 games. Two years ago, they started 8-14-3. Starting fast will be a point of emphases for the Hurricanes this season. A bad loss in December led to the promotion of a plethora of younger guys and the youth movement was in full bloom. The talent is evident up and down the roster and should be even better with another year running Bill Peters' scheme. Carolina went 27-18-12 over the final 57 games last season. That projects to 95 points over a full season. It wasn't until game 79 that Carolina was officially eliminated from postseason play. This team is well-coached and heading in the right direction.

Teuvo Teravainen was brought in and don't let his diminutive size fool you. He's very skilled and joins a bunch of emerging forwards with the likes of Jeff Skinner (28 goals last season), Victor Rask (21 goals), and Bryan Bickell. Beckell should regain the form he showed with the 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks after being let go in a salary dump. Jordan Staal is getting better and he should benefit from the presence of veterans' Lee Stempniak and Viktor Stalberg. Elias Lindholm is another stud up front. Center Andrej Nestrasil's points have risen in each of his first three seasons, with a career-high 23 in 55 games last year. He's got good size and is deceptively fast.

The defense is loaded and these guys will be household names in the coming years. Jacob Salvin might be their best defenseman, along with Noah Hanifin, Bret Pesce, Ron Hainsey and Haydn Fleury, this team should be solid on the blue line. This group has that perfect combination of size and speed. Only a handful of Eastern Conference teams will be able to match-up against the Hurricanes' defensemen. Carolina wants to play a suffocating style of defense this season. Should be fun to watch.

I love the two-headed monster in Goal for the Hurricanes this season. Eddie Lack & Cam Ward will both start over 30 games and the Hurricanes will just ride the goalie that is playing better. Cam Ward started 51 games last season and finished with a 2.41 GAA and .909 save percentage. Solid. In 116 career games, Eddie Lack has a 2.54 GAA and .912 save percentage. Very good. He's four years younger and 3 inches taller than Ward. Whoever starts in Goal nightly, the Hurricanes will have an excellent chance of playing a competitive game. The East has a lot of bad teams in my opinion this season. Carolina is not one of them. The Season future point total is set at 78.5 for the Hurricanes this season. Way too low. Go Over 78.5 points! Carolina has a bunch of young skillful talent in the minors that could be ready as soon as this season.

Jeff's 2016-17 prediction: (42-30-10, 94 points, Wild Card)



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