Mar 27, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward (30) is congratulated by center Eric Staal (12) after his shutout victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. The Hurricanes beat the Maple Leafs 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

A Hurricane Force

Ever since the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2006, they have been a mediocre team in the rebuilding phase.  This past season they had 82 points, 33-33-16, finishing last in the Southeast Division.  However, this off-season Canes GM Jim Rutherford wanted to acquire a top-line forward.  The Canes did more than that, they got two rather skillful ones that can help the team immediately.

Carolina traded for Jordan Staal, giving up center Brandon Sutter, defensive prospect Brian Dumoulin, and the 8thpick in the 2012 draft (Derick Pouliot).  The trade seemed to be good for both sides, with the prospect of pairing the Staal brothers together too enticing for Rutherford to pass up.  While some have their doubts about Staal’s production and potential as a top line center, he is only 24.  It will be interesting to see if Staal can continue to grow, no longer in the shadow of Crosby and Malkin, but rather in the forefront of a budding franchise.

November 12, 2011; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal (12) and the Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal (11) during the 3rd period at the RBC center. The Hurricanes defeated the Penguins 5-3. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-US PRESSWIRE

Not done with Free Agency, the Hurricanes recently signed former Washington Capitals forward Alexander Semin.  Semin left Washington due to the need for a change in scenery, no longer having the desire to continue playing in our nation’s capital.  Semin, a former 1st round pick, signed a one year deal for 7 million dollars.  GM Jim Rutherford basically made a low-risk move, only marrying himself to Semin for a one year tryout to see if a new team will bring back the scoring form that had Washington fans hopeful for a Stanley Cup run.  Semin has been a prolific scorer in the league for the past six years, averaging over 30 goals per season during that stretch.

With the addition of Semin and Staal, the Carolina Hurricanes are a team to be reckoned with in the East.  They have one of the brightest young stars in the NHL in Jeff Skinner, while Eric Staal produces at a extremely high level as well.  Their goaltender Cam Ward is one of the few holdovers from when they won the Stanley Cup.  Ward is one of the best in the NHL, a dependable man between the pipes that can win the big game.   With the recent moves and current team, the Hurricanes have proven that this small market team is ready to win, and win now.  Look out for the Canes to be one of the pleasant surprises this season, giving the upper echelon teams, i.e. Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New York, a run for their money come playoff time.

Be sure to check out The Carolina Hurricanes Fansided Page: Cardiac Cane

Tags: Alexander Semin Brandon Sutter Brian Dumoulin Cam Ward Carolina Hurricanes Crosby Derick Pouliot Eric Staal Featured Jeff Skinner Jim Rutherford Jordan Staal Malkin Popular Southeast Division Washington Capitals