Well, anyone wanting to know if the Caens were going to be active this off season got their answer early. After not engaging in their nearly annual salary dump at the trade deadline, they went out and got some pieces. Whatever else can be said about this years squad; they have the most effective two way one and two punch at center (assuming the two Staals both play on their own lines) in the division. Stamkos is better offensively, Backstrom is no slouch, but neither has a second in the same neighborhood.
- Holy hell the forward talent; Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, Alex Semin are as good a set of top forwards as it gets.
- Justin Faulk has a full season of experience to his credit and can only get better.
- None of the other teams in the division have made any major moves to improve.
- As good as the forward crew is, the defense isn’t the loss of Allen and the return of Corvo really cuts into the quality of defense.
- Goaltending is a concern, Cam Ward his worst save percentage in four seasons last year, and Boucher isn’t going to inspire much confidence.
- It is doubtful the chaos that enveloped the Capitals last season, or the off ice concerns for the Jets will carry over to this season.
High: Bubble team, with the funk Eric Staal was in for much of last season, and the time lost for Jeff Skinner piled onto the additions of Jordan Staal and Alex Semin the chance for the Canes to score fifty goals more in 2012-13 than in 11-12 is actually a conservative estimate since more players will slide into their proper spots on the depth chart.
Low: Afterthought. The defense on this team is thin, while I’m not the Alex Semin detractor that certain TSN types are, he’s not going to contribute to this teams defense. I’m also not convinced Ward has the goods the be a world beater and play65+ games. Maybe if he could play 50-55 games, but you still have to wonder about what contribution Boucher can make and still allow the team a chance at the playoffs.
The big question for this team is how well can this teams forwards who will have to carry them do so. Realistically they look a lot like last years Flyers with how the team is balanced. In their favor is a weaker division, on the other hand their forward pool is not quite as deep.