Last Season – The Hurricanes missed the playoffs by 10 points, finishing with a .500 record (32-32-16). They finished 12th in the Eastern Conference
Saying Goodbye – Bryan Allen, Brandon Sutter, Jaroslav Spacek
Saying Hello – Jordan Staal, Alex Semin, Joe Corvo (again), Marc-Andre Gragnani
Ready to Step In – Zac Dalpe will provide some insulation up the middle as they move Eric Staal to the wing. He probably won’t score much but will replace Brandon Sutter’s defensive awareness and penalty killing.
Look For A Bounce-back Season From – Alex Semin. Perhaps a new environment will kick-start his career again after floundering in Washington on a 1 year contract last year. He will get first or second line minutes with quality players and must produce.
Hardware Hopefuls – Jordan Staal, Selke
Upside – The big splash in acquiring Jordan Staal at the draft increases the Canes’ depth and allows the former #2 overall pick a chance to spread his offensive wings a little more after being in the large shadow of Crosby and Malkin. He will get a chance to play with his older brother, most likely on the same line. This could be Staal’s chance to be one of the league’s dominant two-way players.
Downside – There is still some work to do, to become a real playoff threat. Eric Staal was the clubs leading scorer by almost 25 points. Jordan Staal will help, but more secondary offense must be provided from Jeff Skinner, Jussi Jokinen and Tuomo Ruuttu for the Canes to contend.
2013 Prognosis – The Hurricanes will be in the fight for the final couple of playoff spots. If JStaal is as good as advertised in a starring role, he might be the tonic that gets them into the playoffs. Once there, the team has the experience and the goaltending in Cam Ward to make some noise.