Aug 8, 2012, 1:34 PM EST
From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.
33-33-16, 82 points. Fifth in the Southeast Division, 12th in the Eastern Conference.
Second round, 38th overall — Phillip Di Guiseppe, LW (Univ. of Michigan)
Back in May, ‘Canes GM Jim Rutherford said he planned on being a major player in both the trade and free agent markets.
He wasn’t kidding.
Rutherford orchestrated the offseason’s biggest swap (Jordan Staal for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin and the eighth overall pick), issued one of the biggest extensions (Staal’s 10-year, $60 million contract) and took a flier one one of the biggest question marks ($7 million for Alex Semin).
The end result was a far different team from the one that finished dead last in the Southeast.
The ‘Canes now boast a dynamic forward group, led by the projected top-six of the Staals, Semin, Jeff Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu and Jussi Jokinen. All six have scored 20 goals at least once in their careers while Eric Staal, Semin, Skinner and Jokinen have hit 30 before.
Rutherford wasn’t as successful bolstering his blueline, though he did return a familiar face in Joe Corvo and locked up the steady Jay Harrison at a nice price ($1.5 million per.)
No Eastern Conference team reshaped itself like Carolina did this offseason — up front, that is. The defense is still a question mark and much is seemingly riding on two kids under the age of 21: Justin Faulk and Ryan Murphy.
Faulk played to rave reviews last season, scoring 22 points in 66 games and earning a spot on the NHL’s All-Rookie team. Murphy, the 12th overall pick in 2011, made the ‘Canes out of camp last season as an 18-year-old before being returned to OHL Kitchener. If Faulk can avoid a sophomore slump and Murphy can replicate Faulk’s rookie success, the ‘Canes will have a decent group (including Corvo, Harrison, Tim Gleason, Joni Pitkanen and Jamie McBain.)
If not…there could be repeat moments from last season, when Carolina finished 25th in goals allowed per game (2.89).
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