OUT: D JOE CORVO; C JUSSI JOKINEN
IN: D ANDREI SEKERA; C NATHAN GERBE; G ANTON KHUDOBIN
LAST YEARS RECORD: 19-25-4 42 POINTS; 13TH IN CONFERENCE
For me and probably others, the Hurricanes are probably the most difficult team to figure out at every start of the season. They seemed to look good on paper or have a legit chance for the playoffs then poof! they’re gone before you know it. in 2010-11 they finished the season with 91 points and haven’t come close since. Could this year be different?
Offense: Not gonna lie folks, this team could have 6 players with 20+ goals and have as many as 8 average 20 goals a game. The offense is there. The Staal brothers, Skinner, Tlusty all make the Hurricanes a threat. After them however is where the drop off begins. This season will see if there is enough bottom depth for Carolina to make a push.
Defense: Former first round pick Defenseman Ryan Murphy lost last season to injuries. Should he make the club, he should help to improve the overall team defense. He’s not flashy, but that’s not his game. He’s a steady defensive defenseman who will only get better as the year progresses. Look for Justin Faulk to improve as well.
Goaltending: Like Columbus, Philly & yes the Islanders, this will be key if the Hurricanes want to make any kind of noise. Cam Ward must stay healthy for a full season. Khudobin was signed in the offseason and had decent numbers playing backup to Tuuku Rask and the defending Eastern Conference Champs Boston Bruins. Carolina is no Boston, so he will be put to the test.
OUTLOOK: The issue I have this year with Carolina is injuries. If they get them soon, they’re done due to the lack of depth in the organization. If they stay healthy, can they play against not only the Caps, but the old Atlantic Division and keep pace? They should win early on with the offense and goaltending, but as the season continues, look for them to fade.