To get you ready for the 2015-16 season, we will be previewing all 30 NHL in 30 days, division by division. Check the bottom of the page for a schedule of each preview.
Today’s team: Carolina Hurricanes
2014-15 record: 30-41-11, 8th in the Metropolitan
How they finished: Did not make the playoffs
Coach: Bill Peters (2nd year)
Notable additions: G Eddie Lack, D James Wisniewski
Notable subtractions: D Brett Bellemore, RW Patrick Dwyer, RW Alexander Semin, G Anton Khudobin
Schedule against the Capitals: Sat. Oct. 17 at Washington, Mon. Dec. 21 at Carolina, Thu. Dec. 31 at Carolina, Tue. Mar. 15 at Washington
Outlook: The biggest issue for the Hurricanes last season was their offense as they ranked 27th in the NHL with only 183 goals for the season (2.23 goals per game). Alexander Semin was a huge disappoint and was ultimately bought out by the team. Other than that, Carolina made few moves to address the offense in the offseason other than bringing in James Wisniewski who should help on the power play. That means it falls to Jeff Skinner and Eric Staal to have bounce back years and Victor Rask and Elias Lindholm to continue improving.
Defensively, the Hurricanes may have both their 2015 and 2014 first-round draft picks on the ice. Carolina took Noah Hanifin with the fifth-overall pick in 2015 and considered to be the best defenseman in the draft. Both he and 2014 first-round pick Haydn Fleury will make a push for the NHL this season.
The intrigue doesn't stop at the blue line, however, as Eddie Lack will challenge long-time starter Cam Ward. With both goalies entering the final year of their contracts, they will be competing for more than just playing time.
Whatever the Hurricanes hope to accomplish this season, they will need a better start than they had last year. The season was over as quickly as it began as the Hurricanes failed to win a single game in October, going 0-6-2. It ultimately led to a coaching change as Kirk Muller was replaced by Bill Peters. I don't see the Hurricanes being so quick to oust Peters this season if things start slowly, but a winless month in the NHL does not leave a good impression with management.
Expectations: It's going to be a long year in Carolina. The Hurricanes did nothing to address their dreadful offense other than cross their fingers and hope the same players play better this season. Their best players are underachieving and over the hill, or very young and still developing. It is far more likely that Carolina ends up in the lottery than in the playoffs.
Though the team is going to be bad, they still should be fun to watch as there are a lot of young prospects that could find their way into the lineup once the Hurricanes throw in the towel and that won't take too long.
See more team previews:
Columbus Blue Jackets 8/24
New Jersey Devils 8/25
New York Islanders 8/26
New York Rangers 8/27
Philadelphia Flyers 8/28
Pittsburgh Penguins 8/29
Washington Capitals 8/30