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Previewing the East: Carolina

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – Ready for some hockey?

Sure you are.

The Red Wings don’t open training camp until Sept. 19 in Traverse City, but over the next eight weeks's Bill Roose will preview the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Red Wings’ Atlantic Division rivals in Boston, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Florida and Buffalo. This week it's the Carolina Hurricanes:

Coach: Bill Peters

Last Year: 36-35-11, 83 points (13th in Eastern Conference)
Detroit vs. Hurricanes:
5-on-5 Goals:
138 (13th in Eastern Conference)
Power Play Efficiency:
41-for-281, 14.6 percent (14th in Eastern Conference)

2013-14 Stats Vs. Red Wings
Player POS AGE rank GM G A PT. GM G A PT.
Eric Staal c 29 42 79 21 40 61 3 0 2 2
Jeff Skinner LW 22 67 71 33 21 54 3 0 1 1
Andrej Sekera D 28 119 74 11 33 44 2 2 0 2
Alexander Semin RW 30 135 65 22 20 42 1 0 0 0
Jordan Staal C 25 155 82 15 25 40 3 0 1 1
2013-14 Stats
Goalie AGE Rank GM W L OTL GAA SV%
Anton Khudobin 28 25 36 19 14 1 2.30 .926
vs. Red Wings
0 0 0 0 0.00 .000

2014-15 OUTLOOK

Regular-Season Games vs. Red Wings: Dec. 7 (at CAR); Apr. 7 (at DET); Apr. 11 (at CAR).

ARRIVALS:  Forwards Ben Holmstrom, Jay McClement, Brad Malone; defenseman Tim Gleason; and goalie Drew MacIntyre.

DEPARTURES:  Forwards Brett Sutter, Manny Malhotra and Radek Dvorak; defensemen Joni Pitkanen, Mike Komisarek, Matt Corrente and Brett Bellemore; and goalie Justin Peters.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Defenseman Andrej Sekera is coming off a career year when he produced personal bests for goals (11), assists (33), points (44) and power-play goals (4). The 28-year-old blue liner is a confident puck mover. But the Canes need more offensive help from the D-men, particularly on the power play. Sekera stepped up in that area last season. No other Canes defenseman had more power-play points (15) than Sekera, but he’ll be asked to do more this season.

SEASON SCOPE: The Hurricanes finished 13th last season in the Eastern Conference standings, the fifth straight campaign they’ve missed the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the Canes’ power play took another step backwards. New head coach Bill Peters pointed out to HNIC's Elliotte Friedman that the Canes had 70 more minutes of power-play time than the penalty kill (third-best in the NHL), but still ranked 28th overall with the man-advantage. Perhaps the new management team, led by GM Rob Francis, and a new system implemented by Peters, a former Red Wings' assistant coach, will result in more wins this season. Staying healthy will be key, Francis said, pointing to injuries that sidelined goalies Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin and forwards Alexander Semin, Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty.

Potentially, the Canes have four 30-goal scorers on their roster with Eric Staal, Semin, Tlusty and Jeff Skinner. If their offense can avoid another slow start and the rest of the team can avoid major injuries, making the playoffs in the Metropolitan Division isn’t out of the question.

Atlantic Division Metropolitan Division
Buffalo (July 24) Carolina (Aug. 7)
Boston (sep. 11) Columbus (Aug. 21)
Florida (July 29) New Jersey (Aug. 14)
Montreal (Sep. 2) NY Islanders (July 31)
Ottawa (Aug. 12) NY Rangers (Aug. 28)
Tampa Bay (Sep. 4) Philadelphia (Aug. 26)
Toronto (Aug. 5) Pittsburgh (sep. 9)
Washington (Aug. 19)

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