The Carolina Hurricanes’ Gain May Be The Panthers’ Loss

April 1, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal (11) shoots the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center.The Philadelphia Flyers won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

 

The Carolina Hurricanes have often been the whipping boy of the Southeast Division but those days may be over. The Hurricanes have made some of the biggest moves of any team in the division this offseason and have sent a message that they are here to win in 2012.

The History

Last season the Hurricanes finished dead last in the division but because the Southeast was so competitive last season, the Canes weren’t far from the top. Look at it like this, the Florida Panthers who won the Southeast last year, ended the season with 38 wins. The Canes, who came in last place, finished with 33 wins. Only five games separated first from last and it was obviously any team’s division to win.

The Massive Upgrades

Jordan Staal is undoubtedly the biggest upgrade for the Hurricanes. Staal, who has been skating in the shadow of Sidney Crosby for the last several years is a massive scoring threat and will increase the Canes’ offensive prowess tremendously. The Canes weren’t messing around with this deal, the team locked Staal down to a ten-year $60 million dollar contract that will guarantee his services for a long time to come. Jordan will get a chance to run the first line in Carolina alongside his older brother and team captain Eric Staal. In one move the Canes have put together one of the best first lines in the Southeast Division.

Alexander Semin was another big signing made by the Canes this offseason. Semin was more of a gamble than Staal because his numbers in the past several years have been erratic. What Semin lacks in consistency he makes up for in skill. He’s a proven 70 point per-year player and if he can find chemistry in Carolina, the sky is the limit for the Hurricanes.

Joe Corvo is a player that hasn’t been talked about too much. The Canes brought on the veteran defenseman for a one-year contract. Corvo is 35 years old and will be the most experienced player on the ice for the Canes next season. His leadership skills and experience are invaluable to the Canes’ defensive depth. Let’s not forget, just two seasons ago Corvo put up 40 points from the back end with the Hurricanes.

There is no double the Southeast Division has gotten much tougher. The Hurricanes aren’t the only team that made upgrades. It looks like the division will be a complete dogfight until the end of the year. I’ve heard people say that the Southeast is the worse division in hockey but for me; I think it’s the best. These teams have fans on the edge of their seats right up until the last game of the season and it looks like that trend will continue.

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Topics: Alex Semin, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Free Agents, Jordan Staal, Nhl, Southeast Division

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