When the Carolina Hurricanes‘ season is officially over and they start to assess what went wrong this year while looking ahead to the future, one of the most important things they should consider is keeping their top line intact. Eric Staal, Jiri Tlusty and Alexander Semin have developed amazing chemistry this season, and have been responsible for nearly half of the Hurricanes’ scoring. Tlusty’s breakout season should earn him top line time moving forward, and with the success these three had in an otherwise dismal season there’s no reason to break up a good thing.
Staal leads the Hurricanes with 50 points and has scored 18 goals this season. He’s the captain and the leader of the team and there is little chance he moves off the top line. Tlusty has been the surprise of the season, leading the league with eight multi-goal games and the Hurricanes with 21 goals. Semin came in on a one-year contract but has shown the Hurricanes enough that they signed him to a five-year extension. With this trio in place up front the Hurricanes should be able to bounce back quickly, especially if they can stay healthy. Injuries have been the big issue for the team this season, as the defense and goaltending suffered multiple setbacks.
Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner give the Hurricanes great centers on their next two lines, and with the right pieces flanking them could help make this a team with three dangerous scoring lines. While questions remain about who’s coming back on defense and in goal, the Hurricanes can at least rest easy knowing their top line will be back and remains one of the best in the league.