The NHL offseason is a busy, yet exciting, time for teams and fans alike. This is when fans get to see their teams building for the future. However, not every team makes the moves necessary to become a legitimate contender. With the 2012 NHL draft complete and free agency currently going on I will be looking at every NHL team; taking into account the moves they’ve already made, what players are free agents, who looks to be coming back, what prospects are already under contract, etc; and then deciding whether that team will, in the next two years, be more of a “contender” or “pretender”. This week we’ll be taking a look at the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes return a slew of talented forwards, including perennial 70 point scorer Eric Staal, Jussi Jokinen and 2011 Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) winner Jeff Skinner to name a few. Jokinen’s proven himself to be a very good two-way player, putting up 46 points in 79 games played last season. Skinner, on the other hand, struggled with concussion issues last season but still managed to put up 44 points. Other notable offensive returnees for the Canes include Tuomo Ruutu (18 goals, 34 points), Chad LaRose (19 goals, 32 points) and Jiri Tlusty (17 goals, 36 points, plus-1 rating). » Continue reading “Contender or Pretender: Carolina Hurricanes Edition”