Carolina Hurricanes will likely look to rebound from a poor showing in 2007-08, but it may not be as easy as it once was in the improving Southeast division. With Tampa bay sporting new owners and a whole bunch of new faces, and Washington continuing to develop nicely around superstar Alexander Ovechkin, the 2006 Stanley Cup Champions need to find some answers quickly.
After trading Mike Commodore and Cory Stillman to Ottawa for Patrick Eaves and Joe Corvo at the deadline, Carolina made a number of moves after the playoffs to help prepare for next year. Contracts with Sergei Samsonov, Tuomo Ruutu and Joni Pitkanen will provide veteran talent on the Hurricanes. Other than filling some roster spots with a few role players like Darcy Hordichuk and Patrick Dwyer, Carolina has been relatively quiet this offseason. Right winger Keith Aucoin was lost to division rival Washington, as well.
If superstars Eric Staal and Erik Cole can stay healthy this season, the Hurricanes will be in the mix come next postseason. If not, it will be difficult for them to keep up with the talented offenses in Washington and Tampa Bay.