2013 Carolina Hurricanes Season Preview
The question of the year for all Canes fans is easy… Cam Ward be the elite goalkeeper they all know he’s capable of being? The Hurricanes will need Ward to be at that all-star level, as well as Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty. Alexander Semin, along with Staal and Tlusty, were the best even-strength line in the NHL last season with 75 points, and they’re going to be expected to do it again as Carolina looks for a postseason opportunity in the 2013-14 Season. The Hurricanes will have key home games early on in the season against the Bruins on Nov. 18, vs. the Capitals on Dec. 20, and vs. the Penguins on Dec. 27. They’ll play regional foes in the Panthers and Lightning on Jan. 18 & 19, with both games at home.
2012 Carolina Hurricanes Season Preview
The Carolina Hurricanes have undergone a variety of changes since the 2011-12 season, including a new head coach in Kirk Muller and a variety of trades and free agent splashes to help the team get back on top of the hockey world. The Hurricanes missed the playoffs for the third straight year during the 2011-12 season, finishing with a pedestrian 33-33-16 record and 12th in the Eastern Conference standings. Heading into the 2012-13 season, the Hurricanes have gone back to the drawing board and revamped their roster. They now have a bevy of playmakers who could make a serious difference for the team's postseason chances this year. The biggest change on the Hurricanes' offense will come in the form of a blockbuster draft day deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins for center Jordan Staal. He will join his brother Eric Staal to form one of the most potent scoring threats in the NHL. Eric Staal lead the Hurricanes in points, goals and assists during the 2011-12 season, so the addition of his brother should work wonders to spread the puck around. The addition of former Washington Capital Alexander Semin should strengthen a bench that already includes solid role players like Chad Larose, Jeff Skinner and Jussi Jokinen. The Hurricanes' defensive lines are undergoing a bit of a transition, but should still feature a mixture of solid veteran leadership and talented young players. The addition of defenseman Joe Corvo should strengthen the back line along with Joni Pitkanen, while young players like Justin Faulk, Marc-Andre Gragniani and Jamie McBain should help to keep the unit fresh. The Hurricanes boast one of the best goaltenders in the league with Cam Ward, but the team will need solid contributions from backups like Brian Boucher and Justin Peters to keep Ward fresh for a postseason run. With a roster re-stocked with talent and ready to roll, the Hurricanes will open up the season on October 13 with a six-game road trip beginning with the Winnipeg Jets. The team will hold its home opener on October 26 against the New York Rangers, face off against the defending Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils on December 2 and will wrap up 2012 with a New Year's Eve game against the Montreal Canadiens. With expectations through the roof for the Hurricanes this year, the team has the talent and the drive to return to the playoffs for the first time in three years, and make some noise when they get there.
2011 Carolina Hurricanes Season Preview
The ‘Canes have won the Southeastern Division championship three times and two conference championships in 2002 and 2006, the latter of which preceded their first and only Stanley Cup against the Edmonton Oilers. During the 2010-2011 season, the Hurricanes performed better than expected following a disappointing run the season before. Captain Eric Staal led the team to place only ninth in the Eastern Conference, but rookie Jeff Skinner was awarded the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year, the first to do so in franchise history. Fueled by Skinner's outstanding performance last year, Carolina is expected to take another promising run at the Eastern Conference title. The key will be how well the duo of Staal and Skinner hold up, and if their supporting cast can continue to grow as a unit. Tuomo Ruutu and Jussi Jokinen have given Carolina what it had been lacking in previous season—legitimate set up men and outside options that make opponents pay if ignored. Add to the mix the possible resurgent careers of Alexei Ponikarovsky and Anthony Stewart, and the ‘Canes are a team that will create problems in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes will begin the 2011-2012 season with a home game the RBC Center against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
2010 Carolina Hurricanes Season Preview
After the Carolina Hurricanes got off to a terrible start last season, they managed to rebound with a respectable second half. However, they still missed the playoffs and will be looking to improve on a year that saw them finish 11th in the Eastern Conference. The offense will be centered around Eric Staal, who managed 70 points on 29 goals and 41 assists last year to lead the team. Staal has great potential, but the Hurricanes will be hard pressed to find someone to surround him with. The performance of Jussi Jokinen will be vital, as he will be expected to be productive once again after scoring 30 goals last season. Carolina is also lucky enough to have one of the best goalies in the game in Cam Ward. While Ward is a solid option between the pipes, the defense surrounding him is rather porous. If the defense can protect Ward from constant bombardment, there is hope that the Hurricanes will be able to breakthrough and make the playoffs, but the chances are slim and they may be sitting at home come April.
2009 Carolina Hurricanes Season Preview
The Carolina Hurricanes are a dangerous hockey team for opponents in the 2009-2010 season. Carolina had a great playoff run last year, until they ran into a buzz saw by the name of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Some experts have downgraded projections for the Hurricanes this year, but captain Rod Brind'Amour should have his squad ready to play. Expect the unexpected from Carolina this year, but don't count them out from making some noise in the 2010 NHL playoffs.