Apr 13, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner (53) skates with the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Hurricanes won 6-5 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Hurricanes 2013-14 Grades: Top Six

Apr 1, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal (11) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Carolina won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This is the second in a four-part series grading the Carolina Hurricanes players and there 2013-14 seasons. Today we’ll grade the Hurricanes’ top six players. There will be six graded today in total.

Andrei Loktionov
Stats (With Canes): 20GP – 3g – 7a – 10p
Grade: A

Acquired at the trade deadline for Tuomo Ruutu, Loktionov did more for the Hurricanes in his 20 games than Ruutu did this season. He started out slow after the trade, but found his place on the first line and helped make the powerplay decent, which is more than can be said about it throughout the season. Loktionov is an RFA this season, and the Hurricanes should put a lot of effort into re-signing him.

Alexander Semin
Stats: 65GP – 22g – 20a – 42p
Grade: B-

The dismal play of the first line affected Semin’s production this season, but he was arguably the best player from last year’s top line. Semin scored some great goals and played a big part in a lot of wins. However, he dealt with a wrist injury through most of the season, which slowed him down. Had he been healthy he may have had one of his best statistical seasons. But he still makes too much money for the production he contributed this year.

Jeff Skinner
Stats: 71GP – 33g – 21a – 54p
Grade: A-

Skinner rebounded and had the best his best season since his rookie campaign, scoring over 30 goals and 50 points. He was on a tear at the beginning of the season and continued to produce even with shuffling linemates. He contributed less at the end of the season, but still showed that he can be the go-to offensive guy on the Hurricanes.

Eric Staal
Stats: 79GP – 21g – 40a – 61p
Grade: D-

Everything that has to be said about the oldest Staal brother has already been said. He had the worst season of his career, looked like he didn’t care and could not lead the team to the playoffs, or at least close to, yet again. His statistical numbers weren’t completely awful, but the team has every right to expect more. His future in Raleigh looks bleak at this point and with good cause.

Jordan Staal
Stats: 82GP – 15g – 25a – 40p
Grade: C+

I feel bad for Jordan Staal because he is not put in a position to succeed with this team. He’s a second-line center, usually playing with shutdown players, expected to produce scoring. Kirk Muller simply doesn’t know how to use him. When Staal played with Semin and Tlusty, he had some of his best games, but with players like Patrick Dwyer and Tuomo Ruutu, that didn’t happen. Jordan can do much more for the Canes, if he’s used in the right role.

Jiri Tlusty
Stats: 68GP – 16g – 14a – 30p
Grade: C-

No one thought, or at least should have thought, that Tlusty would produce at the same level of last season, but 20 goals and 40-50 points shouldn’t have been out of the question. Instead, Tlusty got out to a slow start, played on the fourth line, was a healthy scratch and dealt with trade rumors through most of the season. His saving grace is that he had a strong end to the year and finished with decent numbers. However, I would not bring him back next year, simply to force the Hurricanes to get a better player.

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes Eric Staal Jeff Skinner

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