Scouting Report: Carolina Hurricanes
In order to return to the playoffs, the team will need healthy seasons from Cam Ward and Jeff Skinner, something that hasn't happened through the first third of the season. Equally important are the contributions of both Eric and Jordan Staal. If the brother-punch up front can remain in top form and Ward can remain healthy the rest of the way, the Hurricanes could rebound quickly.
This Season: 13-13-6, 32 points (8th in East)
Last season: 19-25-4, 42 points (13th in East)
Notable Additions: D Matthew Corrente, C Nathan Gerbe, G Anton Khudobin, D Mike Komisarek, RW Aaron Palushaj, D Andrej Sekera
Notable Subtractions: D Marc-Andre Bergeron, D Joe Corvo, G Dan Ellis, D Marc-Andre Gragnani, RW Chad LaRose, D Jamie McBain, RW Jerome Samson, D Bobby Sanguinetti, RW Tim Wallace
Flames Season Series Record: 0-0-0
Skinner, second on the Hurricanes with 19 points, has six goals and eight points in his past five games including three multi-point efforts in that span. The 21-year-old’s 10 goals is also tops among Carolina skaters despite missing 11 games this season.
After recording 38 points in 48 games a season ago, big things were expected from Tlusty this year. Unfortunately, the 25-year-old has not been able to deliver. Tlusty has just four goals and four assists in 32 games this year and has failed to record a point in each of Carolina’s last four games.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Acquired from the Buffalo Sabres at the NHL Draft last June, Sekera has been everything Carolina had hoped after giving up Jamie McBain and a second round pick. The 27-year-old defenceman is third in team scoring and leads all blueliners with 18 points. He’s also second on the team in ice time (23:06) and blocked shots (47).
The team leader in assists (16) and points (24), Staal, who has led Carolina in scoring the past four seasons, continues to be Carolina’s most productive forward. The 29-year-old former second overall pick has six points in his past six games, too.
Ruutu, rumoured to be on the trade block, leads Carolina with 90 hits this season. The 30-year-old has been slumping offensively, though. After a nine-point, 17-game campaign last year, Ruutu has just seven points in 27 outings this season.