Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Carolina Hurricanes.
The Carolina Hurricanes haven’t made the playoffs since 2009, but there was reason for fans to be optimistic going into the 2013 campaign due in large part to the additions of Alexander Semin and Jordan Staal.
Between them, Semin was regarded as a far bigger X-factor given his reputation and underwhelming 2011-12 season, but he bounced back with 13 goals and 44 points in 44 games. That earned him a five-year, $35 million extension in March, but ultimately his efforts were overshadowed by a number of key injuries.
Goaltender Cam Ward missed the final 27 games of the season due to a sprained MCL and the Hurricanes’ alternatives, Dan Ellis and Justin Peters, weren’t able to carry the team in his absence. They also lost gritty forward Tuomo Ruutu and top defenseman Joni Pitkanen for the better part of 2013.
The Hurricanes were able to get off to a 15-9-1 start, but they won just two of their following 17 games. As a result, they didn’t even come close to clinching a postseason birth.
The Hurricanes didn’t have a lot of cap space going into the summer, but they did make a few noteworthy, low-risk signings. They inked 26-year-old forward Nathan Gerbe to a two-way deal after the Buffalo Sabres bought out the final season of his three-year, $4.35 million contract. They lured another bought out player to their ranks by offering defenseman Mike Komisarek a one-year, $700,000 deal.
Carolina also signed Anton Khudobin in an effort to bolster their goaltending following the 27-year-old’s successful campaign as the Boston Bruins’ backup.
On the trade front, the Hurricanes picked up defenseman Andrej Sekera from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for blueliner Jamie McBain and a second-round pick.
Still, perhaps the most noteworthy event of the summer for Carolina was the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. They had the fifth overall pick and used it on forward Elias Lindholm. After recording 30 points in 48 Swedish Elite League games, Lindholm is likely to make the 2013-14 squad.