This series will cover all thirty teams and go over the most important player, and player who’s performance most needs to improve to help the team succeed.
The Carolina Hurricanes seemed like they would return to the post season until late in the season. They were playing well, Eric Staal had remembered to turn on his personality circuit for the All Star weekend, and the Carolinas were swept up in
Beibermania Skinner-Mania as the youngest player in the league skated into the hearts of millions and the NHL Awards show for the Calder Trophy. Even the butchering of the national anthem by Clay Aiken couldn’t dampen spirits in Raleigh. Unfortunately for fans of the wayward Whale things were not meant to be. With the influx of new young talent, and also Tomas Kaberle and Brian Boucher, the Canes are clearly gearing up for something.
This one couldn’t be simpler even if the team had a third star quality skater. Eric Staal is far too often overlooked as a player, and yet given the level of talent he’s had around him most of his career he’s still put up some impressive numbers. For my money he’s the most driven athlete in the entire division, and leads his hugely talented draft class in goals and points. If he has a great season the teams odds of reaching the playoffs are pretty good.
Cam Ward had the best sv% of his career across a record high number of games played. If he be that dominant again, he’s more than done his part. Unfortunately his .923 sv% is well above not just any other year he’s had but far enough outside his career average to make people nervous about him coming back to earth this season. With new members of the blueline, and some larger more mobile forwards in front of him he may find his job easier this season, or not. It will also be interesting to see how he reacts to having a man who has been considered a #1 goaltender in other cities sharing duties with him.