When the Carolina Hurricanes started the 2013 season the hopes of playoff success were high. Although the team looked to be in a strong position, injuries and under-performance of players held the Canes from making the playoffs yet again. Most of the players on the Canes struggled to play their best, but a few players managed to have some of their best NHL seasons.
The Hurricanes’ leadership was never a problem this season because Eric Staal made sure to be one of the best forwards in the NHL. Staal ranked fifth in the league in points with 53 and first on the Hurricanes. He played in every situation on the ice and also showed he is not afraid to be aggressive with 56 penalty minutes. Staal led one of the most dominant lines in the league along with Alexander Semin and Jiri Tlusty.
Tlusty also had a superb season for the Canes as he came out of nowhere to score 23 goals, which is good enough to tie him for fifth in the league. He showed the Hurricanes that they have a highly skilled scorer that is well worth his salary of only $1.7 million for the 2013-2014 season. Tlusty is the perfect dependable player to play with players who love to lead the rush like Staal and Semin. If next season is anything like this past year, he will be one of the Canes’ best players.
Semin showed the Hurricanes management he meant business this season by putting up 44 points in 44 games. He placed second on the team in points only behind Staal. Although most categorized him as a sniper, he was very successful as a skilled playmaker to Staal and Tlusty. In the shortened season, he was second on the team in assists with 31.
All three of these players are young enough to play for many more seasons if they stay healthy, and the trio has developed a special chemistry that makes an elite scoring line. If the Hurricanes want to make an impact next year, all three of these players will need to continue to play like they have been.