This incredibly disappointing season is almost at an end for the Carolina Hurricanes. A season that began with so much promise saw the Hurricanes crash and burn somewhere along the line, mostly due to injuries, but also an astounding lack of depth on the defensive end.
The Canes have already started to put this season behind them, having been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention for quite some time at this point. The focus has already turned to next season, and the outlook is even more positive than it was heading into this season.
First of all, this Hurricanes team is going to be healthy. It doesn’t matter that they added an upper tier talent like Jordan Staal when a good chunk of their roster spent some time injured this season. The two that did the most damage were Cam Ward, who is still out, and Justin Faulk, who missed time with an MCL sprain.
Ward will be back between the pipes. They’ll have their no. 1 defenseman back and healthy. Alex Semin will likely be healthy after missing this final stretch with a concussion. Jeff Skinner will come in completely fresh after struggling this year. Tuomo Ruutu will have the summer to rest up. Those are some pretty big names that the Canes have had out of the lineup this year.
One would have to imagine they’ll look to bolster the blue line as well. This team can put the puck in the net, but they have some serious issues keeping it out. If they can add some talent on the blue line, whether it’s through trade or free agency, they’ll be in much better shape.
It’s hard to imagine this team having the awful luck they’ve experienced this season next year. Nearly every key player on their roster has been hit with an injury of some sort. Defense is a glaring issue, and as long as the front office is aware of it, they can fix it. With even more young talent coming up through the system, this team is going to be a serious Eastern Conference threat in 2013-2014.