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Will Carolina go from worst to first in Southeast Division?

Aug 8, 2012, 9:38 PM EDT

Eric Staal AP

The Hurricanes haven’t won the Southeast Division since their Stanley Cup-winning 2005-06 campaign and they finished in the division’s basement last season.

Still, after adding Jordan Staal, Alexander Semin, and Joe Corvo over the summer, they can’t be ruled out as a contender for the division title.

Last season they lacked offensive depth beyond Eric Staal, but that was partially due to Jeff Skinner‘s concussion-shortened season and the fact that Joni Pitkanen was limited to just 30 games.

This time around, the Hurricanes could realistically enter the season with a top line that features the Staal brothers and Semin. That would set up a second line that will likely include some combination of Skinner, Jussi Jokinen, Tuomo Ruutu, and Jiri Tlusty. All-in-all, that looks pretty good.

Cam Ward will, of course, be their starting goaltender again and while he didn’t put up ideal numbers last season, he did get significantly better in the second half of 2011-12. He’s certainly capable of leading a strong team to the promised land.

Their defense is a bit more of a question mark, but a healthy Pitkanen would certainly help.

There are other x-factors too, not the least of which is Semin, who could be anything from the team’s scoring leader to a decent secondary scorer. However, they are a deeper team than they were last season and that will certainly help.

It’s also worth noting that they aren’t exactly the only club with potential issues within their division. The Southeast Division is full of teams that have both promise and plenty of unanswered questions entering the 2012-13. That’s why it’s looking like such a wide open race, but if nothing else, the Carolina Hurricanes have put them in a much better position this summer.

Related:

Poll: Who will win the Southeast Division?

  1. rockthered1286 - Aug 8, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Here’s your answer: no.

    Good first line and possibly second line on O but the defense is still questionable and left unaddressed. Similar to a certain team in Philly last year and look how that worked out for them..

    Plus you can’t forget that they aren’t the only team in the division to add talent on the offensive end.

  2. rushledger - Aug 8, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Carolina can do I won’t call a team who was last place in the division the favorite but if they can out do the caps and a above average and improving Florida teams they can win it.

  3. wakegoalie27 - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    I think it’s possible if they get above expectations play from that extremely questionable defense. If cam ward can be consistently good they have a good shot. Another thing that is a huge factor is does semin play at the top of his game consistently or does he disappear like semin tends to do.

  4. sonofsuzycreamcheese - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    I can not wait for this season. Kings fan here, but really excited to see Carolina, Wild, and Edmonton play. Come on October.

  5. happybirthdaythickloins - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:59 AM

    u should be excited to watch the franchise dominate again as usual

  6. jacketsfan7 - Aug 9, 2012 at 7:06 AM

    Worst to second probably

  7. chubbedjox - Aug 9, 2012 at 7:22 AM

    Carolina is a joke, they will remain in the basement. Meanwhile, The Franchise will dominate the NHL and wont even lose a game. I heard that Soup Can has been training like never before, and now his girth has reached growler proportions.

  8. tfaltin - Aug 9, 2012 at 7:54 AM

    Can we get rid of Pittsburgh and its fans? Like give them to China to pay off the national debt? Or would we have to pay them to take these rejects off our hands? At least their responses would be censored and wouldn’t show up in these comments, based plainly on stupidity.

    In seriousness I plan on watching a lot of Hurricanes games this year. They will be really entertaining, as will that whole division with Stamkos, Ovechkin, the up-tempo Jets and up-and-coming Panthers. Plus, to have your top forwards (Staals) be has solid in the two-way game as Eric and Jordan are will really help the defense as well. Look for Cam Ward to return to top form, Eric to put forward maybe his best season (80+ points), and the Canes to be top 3 in the Southeast.

    • mmmpierogi - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:03 PM

      “Can we get rid of Pittsburgh and its fans? Like give them to China to pay off the national debt? Or would we have to pay them to take these rejects off our hands? At least their responses would be censored and wouldn’t show up in these comments, based plainly on stupidity.”

      So, I’ll take it that you’re the one person left in the world who has yet to realize it’s a single person leaving all of the comments you’re referring to, not “fans” plural. Not too quick on the uptake there, huh?

      • tfaltin - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:58 PM

        No, actually I figured that out a while ago. It’s called sarcasm. Thus the “in seriousness” in the second paragraph (I threw that in on the off chance people like you wouldn’t pick up on the sarcasm). That’s the part you didn’t copy+paste. Not too quick on the uptake there, huh?

  9. ravenscaps48 - Aug 9, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    I don’t believe so. I just think that the acquisitions are overrated. Jordan Staal is a great player but is always hurt. Semin has a once in a lifetime shot, but an ECHL Work Ethic…. And Joe Corvo? Hahaha. Why would he even be mentioned? They lost their best Defenseman last year (Allen) and replaced him with Joe Corvo. That’s definitely a downgrade

    • ravenscaps48 - Aug 9, 2012 at 8:25 AM

      That being said. I think they will finish 3rd behind Washington and Winnipeg

    • Phil Young - Aug 9, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      Bryan Allen was not their best defenseman last year. He was good and part of that was his chemistry with our best Defenseman, Tim Gleason. Hopefully Gleason will be able to get chemistry working with whoever he lines up with this season. Pitkanen was hurt nearly all of last year and that was tough. Signing Jay Harrison back was also big and we have a couple prospects that should have a shot. I think the D will improve this year. They were good at times last year but the main problem was they would take one shift off and it would bite them bad. They have to play hard every second this season.

  10. mickboogy - Aug 9, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Up and coming panthers?! Did everyone just forget that the cats just won the division last year. Not to mention PHT has sported at least 2 columns that outline the fantastic depth Dale Tallon has accumulated. The Hurricanes are a team that will greatly resemble past teams like The Sabers, and The Flames. Acquiring talent that doesn’t fix and holes the team already has, save Jordan Staal. The Staal bro’s will play at a high level. Nonetheless with Semin in a canes uniform the team will stress offense, while leaving Cam Ward out to dry.

    • tfaltin - Aug 9, 2012 at 9:27 AM

      Up and coming in the sense that they’re only getting better. Huberdeau and Markstrom could make an impact this year, and Bjugstad certainly will down the road. Have a little more respect for the Hurricanes than likening them with the Flames….They will also get a healthy Jeff Skinner which is an addition in itself. No question they’ll be offensive, but this squad can fill the net.

    • Phil Young - Aug 9, 2012 at 9:52 AM

      What is this thought that Semin is a bad D player? Look at the stats. He has one of the best +/-‘s in the league over the last 5 years. The coaching changes that were made in Carolina last year will begin to pay off this year. We saw some of that at the end of last season.

      • babykaby - Aug 14, 2012 at 2:46 PM

        Semin is a tremendous addition to Carolina. He has a bad reputation, but don’t believe most of it. And yes, he can play defense. One of his complaints was he wanted to play on the penalty kill. Hopefully the Canes fanbase will welcome him with open arms. He was handcuffed in DC the past two seasons. With a more open offense in Carolina he’ll bounce back big. Hated to see him leave DC. I should warn you though, the media will continue to blame him for everything wrong with your team all season, so be prepared.

  11. lonespeed - Aug 9, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    Interesting note…

    The entire Carolina Hurricane roster is under 30-years-old, with the exception of Joe Corvo (35), Chad LaRose (30) and Brian Boucher (35). Everyone else is in their 20’s.

  12. wenzel0232 - Aug 9, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Chubbedjox is just trying to make up for a chubby little wanker. So sad he jumping on the soup canwagon.

  13. lostpuppysyndrome - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    If Washington gets their scoring touch back, the SE could be a pretty high scoring division. Lots of good firepower up from on all 5 teams (except maybe Florida) crossed with questionable D could make for some interesting games.

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