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Tweetmail No. 143: Needs, Changes & Key Dates

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on CarolinaHurricanes.com in which I take your Twitter questions about the Carolina Hurricanes or other assorted topics and answer them in mailbag form. Hopefully the final product is insightful to some degree, and maybe we have some fun along the way.

Let's get to it.

Tweet from @nhlcanesfans: @MSmithCanes What's the team's biggest remaining need? #Tweetmail

Perhaps the team's biggest need heading into this offseason was addressed not even a month after the dust settled when the team traded for and then signed goaltender Scott Darling to a four-year contract.

I would identify a top-six center as the team's biggest remaining need. Adding that piece to a Hurricanes' lineup that again struggled to generate consistent offensive production - the team improved its goals for average from 2.39 to 2.59 from a season ago but still ranked 20th in the league - would signify yet another major improvement to a roster that has already improved a month removed from the end of the regular season.

A tertiary remaining need would be depth on defense, specifically a piece that could help solidify the team's 5-6 pair. Recall, that duo was a fluid situation for much of the season, as Bill Peters and his coaching staff plugged a number of different components into those slots looking for the right fit. That pair never fully stabilized, so having more consistency there could work wonders.

Tweet from @martitrinidad04: @MSmithCanes Do you expect any major changes to the team over the summer or does it stay mostly the same?

Well, we've already seen one major change in the long-term signing of Darling. For the first time in 10 years, the Hurricanes are going to have a vastly different look in net - that's a big deal and a major change.

I think it's a good possibility more changes are on the way, and rightfully so. The Hurricanes are still looking to get back into the playoffs for the first time since 2009; keeping things mostly the same clearly isn't the answer. But that's not to say the talented, young core the Canes have assembled over the last few years is going anywhere. Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis and his staff have committed to the process by cultivating talent in this organization through the draft and building from the defense out.

So, yeah, I think you're going to see more changes, major or otherwise, to this team over the summer. The expansion draft plays a role in that. The amount of cap space the Hurricanes will have plays a role in that. The position in which the team finds itself plays a role in that. All of this is by design, building towards a product that is competitive each and every season.

Tweet from @emilullbrand: @MSmithCanes Any idea yet when the new schedule is released? Planning to do a new trip to Raleigh next season! #Tweetmail

Make that road trip happen!

Look for the 2017-18 regular-season schedule to drop in mid-to-late June, somewhere between the end of the postseason, of which the last possible date is June 14, and the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago, which is slated for June 23-24.

Some other dates to circle around that same time. On June 18, the expansion draft list will be released, and three days later on June 21, the roster of the Vegas Golden Knights, the newest franchise in the NHL, will be revealed during the NHL Awards.

Tweet from @Brstunna: @MSmithCanes Favorite lost character?

Really good question, and I have a tough time deciding even to this day. My go-to answer has been Mr. Eko. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje played him with great conviction, and his character's theme was composed ever so beautifully by Michael Giaachino. John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) and Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) were also terrific, which can be said about a lot on the show, from the character development to the performances the ensemble cast delivered on-screen each week.

(I've got a lot to say about this show, so I'll never shy away from a "Lost" question.)

Tweet from @coope87: @MSmithCanes I'm in the market for a new phone. Any suggestions? #Tweetmail

Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring.

This is a real thing.

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Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you'd like answered or you'd like to gift the DMS a set of banana phones, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.

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