Last season: 33-33-16, 82 pts, 5th Southeast, 12th Eastern Conference, missed playoffs
Additions: Jordan Staal, Joe Corvo, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Tim Wallace, Alexander Semin.
Losses: Brandon Sutter, Brian Doumolin, Derek Joslin, Jaroslav Spacek.
Offense: The Canes offense will be led this season by not one, but two Staals. Jordan Staal joins the Hurricanes in the shocking draft day deal with the Penguins and was quickly inked to the same 10 year, 60 million dollar extension he declined in Pittsburgh just prior. Another big signing was the late agreement with former Capital Alexander Semin. While it remains to be seen if he is any more or less the enigma that his reputation garnered in Washington remains to be seen. This signing working out for the Canes would go a long way into leaping back into the playoffs and back among the contenders for the Southeast division. Jeff Skinner, Jussi Jokinen and Chad Larose will provide complimentary scoring that can use some help by good year from Anthony Stewart. This kid has the goods and it would behoove him to show this on a much more consistent basis.
Defense: The hurricanes defense is a mix of age and youth which seems to symbolize a bit of a transition on the blue line. Youngsters Justin Faulk, Gragnani and Jamie McBain flanked by Joni Pitkanen and Joe Corvo. If would be imperative for the youngsters on defense to keep their level of play steady for if the vets on the blue line need to play 25+ minutes a night, their play as a unit could risk fading down the stretch.
Goaltending: While Cam Ward is undoubtedly the go to guy in the pipes, he needs to avoid being overworked. If Boucher/Peters can keep Cam’s starts to the 62-63 mark, it will bode well for the Canes postseason chances.
Prediction: 8th in East, 3rd in Southeast. I feel that last year’s awful start was a one time thing and not indicative of who the hurricanes are or where they are going, I see a 10-12 point improvement which should put them in a dogfight for the final playoff spot.
Standout Player: Alex Semin. While this is a short term project that carries its fair, or unfair, share of risk, I feel the change of scenery will be just what the doc ordered for Semin. If there is a full year this season, Semin will net 32-35 goals and have around 35 assists as well.