Apr 13, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal (12) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

What To Expect From The Carolina Hurricanes Offseason

The word of the day/week/month is change. Big news has been coming out of Raleigh in the past month, and I have little doubt that trend will stop anytime soon. After all, 5 years of consistently missing the playoffs means that it is time for a fresh start. The Carolina Hurricanes have tried brief fixes, but none have effectively solved anything. You don’t put band-aids on a hemorrhage. The changes that have already been implemented are a good start, but there will be more to come.

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

I’d say the next change to make is one to wake up the players. New GM Ron Francis has Caniacs feeling confident in his abilities to right the ship, as he continues to say all the right things. He took a big step in the right direction getting rid of Kirk Muller and company, but he needs to continue to walk the walk if he really wants to convince this fanbase. It’s time to figure out the goalie situation.

“In no way does this change let the players off the hook…”

-Ron Francis on the recent coaching changes

Fan favorite Cam Ward lingers in mind, while our knight in aluminum foil Justin Peters struggles to once again find the spotlight. Oh, and there’s that Khudobin guy. He’s pretty good too. So what does Francis do?

Apr 3, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin (31) is congratulated by teammate Carolina Hurricanes forward Nathan Gerbe (14) after the game against the Dallas Stars at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Each goalie has proved his worth to the team at one point or another, but keeping 3 goalies isn’t exactly conducive to the salary cap or player development. After all, only 2 can dress for any given game, and even then one just sits on the bench. So really, it comes down to who proved his worth more recently.

Khudobin and Ward seem like the LIKELY candidates for the 2 goalie spots with the Hurricanes, while Peters would be sent down to Charlotte, or, God forbid, traded. Not that trading him or Cam Ward would be a bad thing. It’s just that the Raleigh PD probably can’t handle the riots that would ensue for Francis trading either of those two. As long as the Canes get something good in return, a trade of either Ward or Peters would not be terrible.

Apr 3, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Staal (12) carries the puck past the Dallas Stars defensemen Jordie Benn (24) during the 1st period at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

As for the free agent defensemen situation, it would seem logical to shed a defenseman and bring up Ryan Murphy, and Mike Komisarek looks like the one on the chopping block. Not that he’s played badly, it just seems like he’s in the wrong place on the depth chart.

Some fans have called for the head of Eric Staal. Sure, he has had his struggles, but is it really right to trade the captain when the coach, assistant coaches, and GM have all just been fired/replaced? Staal(s) is the face of the players on the team, and represents a large part of why people are fans of this team in the first place. He and Cam Ward, despite their lack of production recently, are the last relics of the ’06 cup win, and to get rid of them would be borderline treasonous in the eyes of the Caniacs.

So what will spur these two on to dispel their names from the trade rumors? Well, first of all, they have to survive this offseason as Hurricanes. If they make it to October and remain in Raleigh, hopefully a new coach/system can rejuvenate them to their former glory. If not, I dare say it may be time to send the boys elsewhere for what had better be a healthy sum of talent.

In the end, what will be will be. Hopefully a coaching change and a few player changes here and there will fix the problem, because after all, this team is the most talented it has been in a long time. But after this 1 (one, uno, un, ONE) season, if the playoffs remain out of reach, it will be time for an overhaul of the players.

As always, tweet me, email me, leave a comment, if you have an opinion on the matter.

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes Offseason

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