Eastern Conference: Canes poised to rebound

Eastern Conference: Canes poised to rebound
August 29, 2013, 8:45 am
Share This Post

CAROLINA HURRICANES

2012-13: 19-25-4, 42 points

Where they finished: 3rd in the Southeast; 13th in the East; 26th in the NHL

Coach: Kirk Muller (3rd season)

Key additions: C Nathan Gerbe, RW Aaron Pulashaj, D Mike Komisarik, D Andrej Sekera, D Matthew Corrente G Anton Khodobin

Key subtractions: RW Jerome Samson, RW Tim Wallace, D Jamie McBain, D Joe Corvo, D Marc-Andre Gragani, D Bobby Sanguinetti, G Dan Ellis

Projected Lineup

Forwards

Jiri Tlusty – Eric Staal – Alexander Semin

Tuomo Ruutu – Jordan Staal – Patrick Dwyer

Nathan Gerbe – Jeff Skinner – Zac Dalpe

Drayson Bowman – Riley Nash – Kevin Westgarth

Defense

Justin Faulk – Joni Pitkanen

Andrej Sekera – Jay Harrison

Tim Gleason – Mike Komisarik

Goaltenders

Cam Ward – Anton Khudobin

Our take: The Hurricanes learned last season just how valuable goaltender Cam Ward is to their playoff chances. They had eight wins and were leading the Southeast Division in their first 13 games with him. After he tore his MCL they won just seven of their final 27 games and finished well out of the playoffs.

It didn’t help that defensemen Joni Pitkanen and Justin Faulk and goalie Dan Ellis also had lengthy injuries. But with everyone healthy and Kirk Muller now in his third season behind the bench the Canes should be back in the playoff hunt. They are one of the NHL’s deepest teams down the middle with the Staal brothers and Jeff Skinner and they are hoping they can revive the career of hard-hitting defenseman Mike Komisarik.

The Canes are hoping Nathan Gerbe can provide some secondary scoring but the real focus will be on team defense after Carolina finished 29th in goals allowed last season.

Offseason Grade: C

Will they make the playoffs in 2013-14:  Yes.