It's been a bleak stretch for the Carolina Hurricanes, one of two teams that have not made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the 2010s. Carolina has advanced to the postseason twice in the past 10 seasons; 2006, when the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup (defeating the Edmonton Oilers in their last playoff appearance), and 2009, when it reached the Eastern Conference Final.
Carolina finished last in the Metropolitan Division in 2014-15 with 71 points; the Hurricanes' playoff hopes were largely doomed by an 0-6-2 start. Most of their problems came on offense: The Hurricanes were 27th in the NHL with 183 goals; center Eric Staal was the only Carolina player to score more than 20 goals and finish with more than 50 points (23, 54).
The Hurricanes realize the challenge ahead if they are to return to the playoffs, but here are four reasons for optimism: