Muller said he wanted the team to go out with a 3-0 record, which will completely obliterate the Canes’ chances of getting a decent draft pick in a year when everyone is talking about how shallow the draft is. Am I super happy about this? Not really. It would be nice if the Canes could draft an elite winger to play with Eric Staal. But there are a couple reasons to still have hope (she said, in Chicago on Cubs opening day). Here they are.
1) Rutherford is swearing he’ll go after a big name this summer. Hope is a double-edged sword, obviously, and Rutherford’s said he’ll chase a big winger if the price is right. I very much doubt he can lure, for example, Parise down to Carolina. But I’m not going to put my foot down and say he absolutely can’t get a big name to come down to Raleigh. Someone to play with Eric Staal could completely turn the team around.
2) Muller is focusing on long-term morale and a strong start next year. Remember the end of last year? Completely demoralizing, humiliating loss, shame heaped on the team, and everyone in the media and the organization swearing up and down they’d kill themselves to make the playoffs next year? Yeah, in retrospect that might not have been the most positive way to begin a season. A huge amount of pressure was resting on Eric Staal’s shoulders, which undoubtedly contributed to his own problems and overall morale issues with the team. In the end, I think that pressure is a huge part of why Maurice lost the room.
3) Prospects in Charlotte will be coming up. Dalpe should be ready next year, and there are some other kids down there too (more to come on that later).
Those are the big ones. I’ll talk more about Muller’s coaching and what he could make of the team next year when I finally post about how he’s done with the team this year. But the world ain’t over; just the season, almost.
And hey; sitting three blocks from Wrigley Field, with Cubs fans everywhere, I feel pretty confident in saying there’s always next year.