43-33-6, 9th in East
D Josef Melichar, D Joni Pitkanen
LW Erik Cole, D Bret Hedican, LW Darcy Hordichuk, D Glen Wesley
WHEN THEY missed
the playoffs last season, the Hurricanes became the first team to win the
Stanley Cup and then fail to reach the postseason in the next two years. That
doesn't sit lightly. "We were a playoff team the past two years,"
goalie Cam Ward insists. "We've been underachieving."
2007--08 season was also compromised by injuries to captain Rod Brind'Amour and
winger Ray Whitney, both of whom are now healthy. But no Hurricane is in better
shape—statistically, physically or financially—than first-line center Eric
Staal (above). After leading the team with 82 points in 2007--08, he added six
pounds of muscle and reduced his body fat in the off-season, then signed a
seven-year, $57.8 million contract extension.
wisely acquired minutes-eater Joni Pitkanen (he averaged 24:07 per game in
Edmonton) to help on defense, that unit remains suspect. And Ward's .904 save
percentage last year was 26th among goalies who played in at least 40 games.
Carolina is likely to become the first Cup champ to miss the playoffs in the
next three years.
31-42-9, 15th in East
D Matt Carle, G Olaf Kolzig, LW Ryan Malone, Coach Barry Melrose, D Andrej
Meszaros, C Vaclav Prospal, F Gary Roberts, RW Radim Vrbata
D Dan Boyle, G Marc Denis, D Filip Kuba, D Brad Lukowich, Coach John