• Last year’s record:  35-31-16  86 points  6th in the Atlantic Division
    • Didn’t qualify for the Playoffs
  • Key losses: None
  • Key additions: Teuvo Teravainen, Viktor Stalberg, Lee Stempniak

Outlook: The Carolina Hurricanes missed the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season, but General Manager Ron Francis is working hard to change that.  The Hurricanes boast one of the most prospect rich blue lines in the league.  24, 19, 21, 23, 22,22, and 35.  No those aren’t the winning lotto numbers you’ve been searching for, those were the ages of the defenseman on Carolina’s blue line last season, minus John-Michael Liles. You’ll notice that the lone outlier in that set of numbers is thirty-five, which is Ron Hainsey.  Hainsey is under contract for one more season, but could be a trade chip if the Hurricanes fall out of the playoff picture.  Justin Faulk leads a young group of talented defensemen and is one of the best offensive defensemen in the league.  Jaccob Slavin(22) and Brett Pesce(21) both rookies last season, performed extremely well for the Hurricanes and continue to take positive strides in their game.  With Haydn Fleury and Jake Bean coming down the pipeline soon, Carolina will have one of the best blue lines in the league in the near future.

The Canes have tremendous defensive depth, but when it comes to upfront they seem to be relatively thin.  Ron Francis did a great job in acquiring Teuvo Teravainen from the Chicago Blackhawks as a prize for taking Bryan Bickell’s contract off of Chicago’s books.  Teravainen, was given quite a few opportunities with the Blackhawks, but couldn’t seem to fall into Coach Q’s good graces.  That’s not to say Teravainen is a lost cause.  I still believe he is a tremendously gifted forward that can play all three forward positions and is defensively responsible.  His offensive touch will find him once again if he finds a coach that has confidence in him.  Although Bickell can’t seem to find his scoring touch that found him during the 2013 playoffs, that earned him his four million dollar contract.  He will bring leadership to a very inexperienced dressing room.

With the additions of Stalberg and Stempniak the Hurricanes add some forward depth and secondary scoring to an undermanned forward group.  Sebastian Aho, who spent last season in Finland, should make the Hurricanes out of camp and give them a dynamic play-maker up front. Viktor Rask will need to build off his career season last year and continue his development this upcoming season.  Jeff Skinner is going to need to stay healthy and regain his scoring touch that he began to find again towards the end of last season.

With Cam Ward and Eddie Lack in goal, Carolina doesn’t have the tandem in the league, but they have a capable one, and that’s what they’ll have to work with this season.  Carolina still lacks the scoring up front to be a major player in the east, but they should have a pretty strong blue line this season.  If the Hurricanes can get above average goal tending and some timely scoring they could find themselves on the cusp of the playoff picture.  Although it’s unlikely the Hurricanes qualify for the postseason this year, they could make some noise in the Atlantic Division.

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