2011-2012 Preview: The Carolina Hurricanes

Posted: September 5, 2011 by cujorulesdtown9 in Carolina Hurricanes, Season Preview
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Review of 2010-2011: 40-31-11, 91 Points, 9th In Eastern Conference, Missed Playoffs

Key additions via free agency: Tim Brent, Brian Boucher, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Anthony Stewart, Chris Durno

Key additions via trade: None

Key Losses: Troy Bodie, Cory Stillman, Erik Cole, Justin Pogge, Joe Corvo

Tim Brent (Photo: Getty Images)

Offense: The winds of change are blowing through Carolina this year, as they said goodbye to a few familiar faces in Cory Stillman, Erik Cole, and Joe Corvo.But they also welcomed a few new faces on offense in Tim Brent, Alexei Ponikarovski, and Anthony Stewart. Tim Brent brings a rugged, hard battling style to the faceoff dot, he’s also capable of scoring a few goals. Ponikarovsky comes looking to turn things around after a disappointing season with Los Angeles, he looks to recapture his scoring touch with Carolina. Stewart brings a boat load of potential after his first full NHL season last year with Atlanta where he racked up 39 points. Eric Staal will, in all likelyhood, still lead the team in scoring, but there is a sense that youngster Jeff Skinner will be biting at his heels in the team scoring race. Tuomo Ruutu should put together a nice point total, including a boat load of assists this year depending on who his line mates are.  Also adding in Chad LaRose and Brandon Sutter, it could be a nice year offensively in Carolina. The Hurricanes issue that needs to be worked out this year the powerplay, they need to improve from their league ranked 24th powerplay percentage.

Defense: The defense of Carolina is what could be the downfall of this team. While they did make a big addition in signing Tomas Kaberle, it is hard to say they are solid defensively. Their big 3 defensive point getters (Kaberle, McBain,Pitkanen), aren’t goal scorers ( 96 /112 combined points came on assists last year) They really need a goal scoring, or shooting defenseman. Tim Gleason is still valuable because of his shot blocking ability, but Derek Joslin, and Bryan Allen, do not think make this team dangerous defensively, barring breakout years for both. The 20th best PK in the NHL, could very well drop even lower this year. Carolina still needs to make some moves to tighten this defense up a bit, and most importantly for this defense, bring in a goal scorer.

Goaltender: This is a strong point in Carolina, Cam Ward almost did enough by himself to get Carolina into the playoffs last year.  Alas, with a stronger defense not coming this offseason, Ward will be looked at to once again stand on his head. And on his off nights, Carolina brought in Brian Boucher to take over. A very reliable backup (18-10-4 with Philadelphia last year) with quite a few years under his belt. Last year, youngster Justin Peters didn’t look quite NHL ready so he will probably spend another year in the AHL to fine tune his game. Overall, it should be a decent year inbetween the pipes for Carolina, but quite a busy one for both netminders.

Prediction: (3rd In Southeast,10th in Eastern Conference )

Carolina is going to just miss the playoff mark, while they are good, that defense is really worrysome and Cam Ward can only carry them so far. They could surprise us all, of course, but the way it looks now, just not seeing much that stands out aside from Eric Staal, Jeff Skinner, and Cam Ward that says “playoff team”.

Eric Staal (Photo: Getty Images)

Standout Player: Eric Staal

While this should come as no surprise, Eric Staal will once again have to lead this team this season, and it would be no shock to see the captain hit the 80-90 point mark by the end of the season.

  1. Dan MacNeal says:

    I think (again) that Carolina’s gotta sneak into a final playoff spot. Team is kind of like Calgary, except I think better than the Flames. Somewhere between 7-10 is realistic.

    And I think Skinner keeps up the awesome play.

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