3 Hurricanes With The Most To Prove In 2023-24

The Carolina Hurricanes loaded up this offseason and are looking like very serious contenders for the Stanley Cup this season after last season ended too soon with too many serious injuries to overcome. They have many very good players, but certain players they took a chance on have a lot to prove.

Tony DeAngelo

Tony DeAngelo had a very good season with the Hurricanes the last time they took a chance on him, and then when he was about to be expensive, traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers. Things didn't work out there and after being bought out, found his way back to Carolina where they once again signed him for cheap. He might not be in the same high-leverage situation as he was two seasons ago with Brent Burns on the team now, but the Hurricanes will be expecting points and for him to prove himself as a person after his second buyout.

Michael Bunting

The Toronto Maple Leafs struck gold when they acquired Michael Bunting, and he thrived on the top line with some of the team's elite players. But considering he was given that role immediately, there is the feeling by some that he's not worth what he got paid in free agency because he has benefited from two of the game's best offensive players. The Hurricanes took a chance on him and he will get an opportunity in the top-six. Since he's signed for three years, he'll have to start out on the right foot.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Jesperi Kotkaniemi fought for the second line center position last season and finally earned it, but many still have doubts. He is a bit overpaid and even though he is young, the team has now committed to him in the role. He is getting better, but in between two offensively gifted players like Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas, Kotkaniemi will need to put up even more points while being solid defensively. It is just year two of an eight-year deal and things could get ugly if he doesn't show any improvement.

Photo credit: © James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports