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Eric Staal upbeat about Hurricanes’ future

Apr 25, 2013, 9:02 AM EDT

Eric Staal #12 of the Carolina Hurricanes reacts after missing a penalty shot against Carey Price #31 the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at PNC Arena on March 7, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
(March 6, 2013 - Source: Grant Halverson/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes had a 15-9-1 record before they completely collapsed, losing a remarkable 17 of their next 19 contests.

After adding forwards Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin over the offseason, Carolina will end up with their worst points percentage since they last made the playoffs in 2008-09. All the same, Hurricanes captain Eric Staal likes the changes the team made last summer.

“Too many years in a row, no question,” Staal told the News & Observer. “But I believe wholeheartedly we can get the places we want to go and where we want to be.

“I feel like we’re in a better situation now than, say, two or three years ago when we missed the playoffs by one game. I still think that we’ve got some excellent pieces and we’re going the right direction where we can be extremely successful for a long period of time. It’s a matter of doing it.”

The Hurricanes have to hope that they already have the pieces in place for a playoffs run, because they don’t have much wiggle room heading into the summer. They’ve already committed $56,650,000 to 17 players, according to Cap Geek, so a major upgrade would take some creativity.

Still, they can add some complimentary parts, like a veteran backup goaltender. The Hurricanes’ collapse this season roughly corresponded with netminder Cam Ward suffering a third-degree MCL sprain.

The Hurricanes will also probably be looking to bolster their defense over the summer and one of their top-tier prospects, 20-year-old blueliner Ryan Murphy, should get a serious look during training camp.

It’s also worth noting that next season the Hurricanes will move from the relatively weak Southeast Division to Division D next season.

Carolina’s division rivals will consist of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington, Columbus, New Jersey the New York Rangers, and New York Islanders. That’s very tough competition and will make ending their playoff drought even harder.

  1. capsfan19 - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Im not trying to be an a$$, but i would like to know now that the season is over what do canes fans think about semin’s acquisition?

    • caniac4ever - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      Me personally, I think he’s been great. The top line of E. Staal, Tlusty, and Semin has been one of the best in the league this year. Tlusty set a career high in goals, Staal has his best points per game percentage since his 100 point season back in 05′-06′. I think Semin is a huge reason for that. He’s a point per game player this year and all three players have strong +/-. And Semin has been a great teammate on and off the ice as well.

    • lonespeed - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      What the ‘Canes did with their talent this year sickens me, but I’m still thrilled they got Alexander Semin. The top line wasn’t the issue, the issue was support and defense.

      Semin had a great year and he’s a dynamic player with a skill set you just can’t find easily. He’s one of the bright spots and the type of player they will need in the coming years to compete. I’m glad he was extended. I was afraid of a one-and-done.

      I for one am very happy he’s a Cane.

  2. modellforprez - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    are yous kidding the co canes will be good for ten yerrs. they got Gordon Staal now

  3. 19to77 - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    See, this is where the Semin deal is gonna bite them in the ass. He’s not a bad player. He’s just… not at all what you want to be dumping $7m a season on when you’re trying to build a competitive playoff roster.

  4. tfaltin - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Lots of teams had a lot of players injured (covering my bases you PHT pirahnas) but the Canes had some particularly important players go down in their great young defenseman Faulk and Cam Ward. Ruutu never really got in a flow, and Skinner got hurt yet again. Combine all that and they fell off the rails. What they did accomplish is getting some of their younger players (i.e. Riley Nash) some NHL action. The Tlusty – Staal – Semin line was elite, and if those injured guys come back to stabilize their depth and goaltending, along with a free agent signing of a veteran stay at home defenseman, they’ll compete in the group of death for the next few years. I’d pick them to with the Southeast as currently constituted next year.

  5. mclovinhockey - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Semin out, the 4th staal coming in. Can’t wait

  6. phillyphanatic77 - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    I don’t think there’s any question the Canes will be better next season. Jordan Staal had a down year so he should bounce back. And obviously the return of Cam Ward is the most important. There’s no question this team collapsed because they had no viable replacement for their workhorse. Ward doesn’t get a ton of recognition but he’s elite IMO. If they can improve the D they’ll be dangerous.

  7. rg3isvictory - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    May I say that I’m thrilled to find Lonespeed is alive after all. I was concerned of suicide after his lofty predictions unraveled a few months back. Turns out he has kept his head down after embarrassing himself. BTW, what stat is more important: goals scored or points?

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