Last offseason, the Carolina Hurricanes decided to make a splash. They traded for Jordan Staal, uniting him with his brother Eric, the key cog for the Canes for years, and then they were the team to take the chance on Alexander Semin. While Semin worked out, Staal, as well as Jeff Skinner struggled, and Cam Ward struggled and then got injured and was replaced with worse goalies. They ended up finishing exactly as poorly as the Calgary Flames. Seriously. They had the same record and the same goal differential. While the Flames are beginning a rebuild, Carolina is not in that mindset.
The Hurricanes will trot out basically the same roster and just hope for the best. That isn't unreasonable. Both Staal brothers, that is to say Eric and Jordan, as Jared is also on the roster, are very good players. Jordan should have a better year. They decided to commit to Semin long term. Jeff Skinner is still only 21. There is plenty of time for him to turn things around. Tuomo Ruutu and Joni Pitkanen dealt with injuries. They have a couple of interesting young defensemen in Justin Faulk and Ryan Murphy. Last year, a lot went wrong. If things go right, that could lead to a major turnaround itself.
That doesn't mean there aren't question. Jiri Tlusty had a breakout year, but can he repeat that. Ward is healthy, and the Canes shrewdly sought out a solid backup in Anton Khudobin. However, Ward hasn't really been that good recently. The issue might not be Ward staying healthy, but playing well when he is healthy. Plus, they play in a new division that will be tougher than the Southeast. There are eight teams in their division, and some of them are the likes of Pittsburgh, Washington, and both New York teams, and we can't forget Philly. It's a tough road to the postseason.
In the end, I think that road will be too tough. The Hurricanes will be better than last season, sure, in terms of goal differential and points and such. Their offensive talents will improve their play. I just don't trust their depth or their goaltending, and the East has too many good teams in it. Carolina wanted to make a splash, and they did, but it just isn't enough in and of itself.