Questions were floating around the Hurricanes being able to make the big show next year and not miss out again on playoff hockey in Carolina.
The Carolina Hurricanes missed the playoffs last season due to a tiebreaker and it was a very disappointing experience for not only the fanbase, but the Management and players as well.
The Canes lost defenseman Brent Seabrook and forward Ryan Getzlaf to free agency and everyone thought it was a sure thing that big Z (Zdeno Chara) would retire. That would leave significant holes in the roster that would need filling, in order to be a competitive team next year.
As it so happens, miracles do come in big packages and GM Jay Williams was able to convince Chara to keep playing for one more year and have one more try for the cup. Chara was a cornerstone piece last season when brought over in trade mid way through the season. He will lead an aging defense corps with Ryan McDonagh and Deryk Engelland.
Williams was happy with how the Canes did at the draft this year with 4 picks selecting two forwards and two defensemen. None of this years picks are expecting to make the club this season but hopefully will develop into future key players for the Canes. The picks were Defensemen Ryker Evans and Tyson Galloway, joined by forwards Taylor Makar, and Robert Orr.
The Canes were not expected to be huge players in free agency this year with a small budget on account on missing the playoffs last year. A lot of Caniancs were shocked when the team announced the free agent signing of Eric Staal.
Williams said that he was happy to bring Eric home where he belongs for another stab at a deep playoff run. Odds are that this could be Eric's last season and what an end it would be to have him go out on top.
Staal signed a one year contract worth $5,800,000 with a $1,450,000 signing bonus. When asked if there were anymore signings to come, Williams just shrugged with a smile.
The Canes have a pretty seasoned roster with some young talent sprinkled in. Training camp will be interesting to watch to see who makes the jump from the the Wolves to the big club as there are some bottom roster spots up for grabs. With Carey Price in nets for the whole season, this team should be able to challenge for a playoff spot and hopefully a deep playoff run.