Tracking the Storm

What to Watch For in the Offseason

Tuesday, 04.17.2012 / 3:03 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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What to Watch For in the Offseason
We’re already counting down to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, which is roughly six months away.

Michael Smith
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But, until then, here are five things to keep an eye on during what could be a busy offseason:

1. Stanley Cup Playoffs

Even though the Hurricanes aren’t in the mix of this postseason, this year’s playoffs have not disappointed – and it’s only the first round. From now until mid-June, you’ll see some of the best hockey of the season as 16 teams are whittled down to one victor.

And this year, you have a chance to see the playoffs in its entirety on the family of NBC networks – NBC, the NBC Sports Network and CNBC – and the NHL Network. This marks a step forward for the League’s presence on television and is great for the growth of the sport.

If you miss any of the action, the League is putting together daily video packages in the Playoffs Countdown, which can be found here.

2. World Championships

The International Ice Hockey Federation will host the 2012 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden beginning on Friday, May 4. A number of Hurricanes will be participating in the annual tournament:

Justin Faulk and Patrick Dwyer will play for the United States; Cam Ward and Jeff Skinner will play and Kirk Muller will serve as an assistant coach for Canada; all three Finns have been asked to play for their country, but participation isn’t yet certain. Keep an eye out for a press release once final rosters are determined.

Preliminaries will run from May 4 to May 15. Quarterfinal games are on May 17, with the tournament concluding with the Bronze Medal Game and Final on May 20. Finland will be looking to defend their gold medal win from 2011.

3. 2012 NHL Draft

The Hurricanes hold the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, which will take place in Pittsburgh on June 22 and 23. In the seven-round draft, the Canes will have a total of 10 picks, seven of which will be in the first 121 selections (four rounds).

Last season, the Philadelphia Flyers selected forward Sean Couturier with the eighth pick. Some other notable players selected eighth overall include Braydon Coburn (Atlanta, 2003), Jeremy Roenick (Chicago, 1988) and Grant Fuhr (Edmonton, 1981). The Hurricanes selected Jeff Skinner with the seventh overall pick in the summer of 2010.

The early general feeling is that a quality player will be available in the eighth slot, perhaps Finnish left-winger Teuvo Teravainen, Kitchener center Radek Faksa or defenseman Griffin Reinhart, son of former NHL blue-liner Paul Reinhart.

Stay tuned to CarolinaHurricanes.com in early June, as we begin to preview the team’s potential selections. We also expect to have live draft coverage from Pittsburgh.

4. Free Agency

Playoffs aside, arguably the most exciting part of the off-season begins on July 1 when free agency opens. This season, President and General Manager Jim Rutherford has stated that the Canes are looking to make a splash by pursuing a top-tier forward.

“We’re really looking for a player that’s in the prime of his career in his 20s, and so where do you get that player?” he said in his end-of-season availability. “Free agency is a possibility. There’s not going to be many of them … but if that player is available, we will have the resources to go after that player.”

Rutherford also hinted at re-structuring the fourth line but did not go into detail as to what sort of transactions that would involve.

The Canes will also have some decisions to make in terms of the unrestricted and restricted free agents on the roster from this past season. Among the UFAs are defensemen Bryan Allen and Jaroslav Spacek. Jiri Tlusty, Jeremy Welsh and Jamie McBain are restricted free agents. Rutherford stated in his end-of-season availability that Allen “fits with our team.” He also mentioned a contract for McBain was something he’d “like to get to work on” as soon as possible.

Fans can track all of this and more on the Contract Chart, which details who is under contract with the team and for how long. This page will be updated as transactions occur, so be sure to check back often.

5. CBA Talks

Complicating the offseason is the impending collective bargaining discussion. The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire on Sept. 15, 2012.

Free agency will operate under a salary cap dictated by current CBA regulations. The salary cap will likely change under a new CBA, which could potentially create hurdles for teams spending to the current limits.

In terms of the threat of a work stoppage, fans shouldn’t be too uneasy. The salary cap framework, which caused the loss of the 2004-05 season, is in place. What remains between the League and Players’ Association should just be small details, and the hope is that these can be resolved in time to begin the 2012-13 season.

More Ahead

We'll have plenty more on CarolinaHurricanes.com as we move along this summer. For everything else, stay plugged in to all that's happening with our social media presences – and look out for additional platforms to be added in the near future.



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72