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NHL Carolina Hurricanes

5 Questions the Carolina Hurricanes Must Answer By October

5 Questions the Carolina Hurricanes Must Answer Before October

Carolina Hurricanes v Winnipeg Jets
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Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006, the Carolina Hurricanes have only made it back to the postseason once, and last year they finished seventh in the newly-formed Metropolitan Division. The Hurricanes have been quiet during the offseason, but that doesn't necessarily mean they should be put to rest quite yet. Here are five questions they must answer before taking the ice for the 2014-15 season.

5. Can the Canes Find Secondary Scoring?

Riley Nash
Tom Szczerbowski - USA Today Sports

5. Can the Canes Find Secondary Scoring?

Riley Nash
Tom Szczerbowski - USA Today Sports

The Hurricanes struggled to get much production out of their bottom-six forwards last year, and that will need to change if they want to find themselves back in the playoff hunt. Players like Riley Nash – who had a career-high 24 points last season – and Elias Lindholm – who is entering only his second year in the NHL – will need to bury the biscuit as they will likely operate together on the Hurricanes' third line.

4. Should Eric and Jordan Staal Play Together?

eric jordan staal
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4. Should Eric and Jordan Staal Play Together?

eric jordan staal
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It works for the Sedin twins, so why not give it a shot with the Staal brothers? Sure, the Canes don't have much depth if you decide to put these two on a line together, but it's something that might be worth trying in the beginning of the regular season to see how it pans out. At the very least, they could be put together sporadically throughout the game in certain situation – like after TV timeouts, or during the last minute of a period.

3. Is Anton Khudobin Ready to Fully Take Over in Net?

Anton Khudobin pic
James Guillory - USA TODAY Sports

3. Is Anton Khudobin Ready to Fully Take Over in Net?

Anton Khudobin Trade
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Anton Khudobin had an impressive first season with the Canes, and with veteran goaltender Cam Ward on a steady decline in terms of production, he needs to be ready to take over the reigns full-time. Khudobin's 92.6 percent save percentage and 2.30 goals against average last year is promising, but hopefully he doesn't fall victim to a sophomore slump in Carolina.

2. Can They Fix the Power Play?

New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes
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2. Can They Fix the Power Play?

New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes
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Only the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers had a worse power play percentage than the Hurricanes last year, which has to be an area of focus as next season approaches. Look for them to experiment with many different looks during the preseason, and hopefully they'll be able to find some sort of system that will improve their abysmal 14.6-percent conversion rate with the man advantage from one year ago.

1. Will Alexander Semin Return to Old Form?

Florida Panthers v Carolina Hurricanes
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1. Will Alexander Semin Return to Old Form?

Florida Panthers v Carolina Hurricanes
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After 44 points in 44 games during the shortened 2012-13 season with Carolina, Semin responded with only 42 points in 65 games last season. Fact is, if the Hurricanes are going to be relevant come playoff time, Semin needs to be on top of his game all year. Eric Staal may be the best talent in Carolina, but Semin is the x-factor, and he needs to come into next season expecting to have a 70- or 80-point campaign.

Shane Darrow is an NHL writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @ShaneDarrow for up-to-date information, predictions and much more on the NHL offseason.