For the next three weeks CSNWashington.com will take a team-by-team look at the three divisions in the Eastern Conference. Every weekday well profile a new team and break down the changes they made in the offseason.
This week: Southeast Division. Today: Carolina Hurricanes.
20011-12 Record: 33-33-16, 82 points
Where they finished: 5th in the Southeast; 12th in the East; 23rd in NHL
Coach: Kirk Muller
Key Additions: C Jordan Staal, LWRW Alex Semin, D Joe Corvo, D Marc-Andre Gragnani
Key Departures: C Brandon Sutter, D Bryan Allen, D Derek Joslin, D Brian Dumoulin
Alexander Semin - Eric Staal - Chad LaRose
Jussi Jokinen - Jordan Staal - Jeff Skinner
Zac Dalpe - Tuomo Ruutu - Jiri Tlusty
Andreas Nodl - Tim Brent - Patrick Dwyer
DefensemenJoni Pitkanen - Jamie McBain
Tim Gleason - Justin Faulk
Jay Harrison - Joe Corvo
Our take: It took the better part of two months, but Kirk Muller had the Hurricanes playing playoff caliber hockey down the stretch. The Canes went 19-10-9 after the NHL All-Star break and a full season under Muller should get them back into the playoff hunt. The Canes added some integral pieces up front with former Penguins center Jordan Staal and former Caps winger Alex Semin and both should get captain Eric Staal back to being a 30-goal scorer, especially if the three forwards play on the same line. The Canes remain strong in goal with Cam Ward, but backup Brian Boucher is expected to be sidelined until January with shoulder surgery, making room for Justin Peters as Wards backup. If there is a significant weakness in Carolina its on defense, where Joe Corvo, 35, joins a group that includes Joni Pitkanen, Jamie McBain, Tim Gleason and Justin Faulk.
Offseason grade: A
Will they make the playoffs in 2013? Yes.