After the Carolina Hurricanes overtime loss against the Winnipeg Jets, they were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. While it has been known for a while the Hurricanes were many wins away from claiming a spot, the news was still a dagger to the players and the fans. With such great off-season moves, it seemed like the Hurricanes were on their way to another playoff run until injuries and slumps got in the way.
Jim Rutherford made sure to be aggressive in the off-season by making a huge trade for Jordan Staal. This added the perfect second line center, which the team has missed in years past. He then managed to grab Alexander Semin from free agency. Semin would be a skilled forward to play with captain Eric Staal on the first line.
Earlier in the season, the Canes looked like a top tier team and led the Southeast division by a healthy margin. This all went downhill when starting goalie Cam Ward went down with injury. Ward was accidently run into by his own defenseman and hasn’t played since with a MCL sprain. While he started off slow, it was obvious Ward was a much better goalie then Dan Ellis and Justin Peters.
The Hurricanes also suffered without the depth scoring they needed. Jussi Jokinen was expected to lead a valuable third scoring line but didn’t put up the points they needed. He was later traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins to unload his large contract. Chad LaRose also had trouble provided the same depth scoring he had before.
When it didn’t seem like anything worse could happen, the Hurricanes lost top defensemen Justin Faulk and Joni Pitkanen to injury. Without these two key players, the team stumbled through the last quarter of the season losing almost every game. It has clearly been a disappointing season for a team that most though had enough skill to compete in the playoffs.