When the Carolina Hurricanes added Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin to the fold last summer, they expected to put forth one of the league's best offenses in the 2013 season.
They expected their goal-scoring prowess to make up for a fragile, rag-tag defense on the opposite end. They expected youngsters like Zac Dalpe, Drayson Bowman and Jeremy Welsh to excel alongside such highly-established stars. And, most of all, they expected to make the playoffs.
Entering the final week of the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign, they already know that final goal, this year's most important goal, will not be accomplished. As for the reason why, Kirk Muller & Co. can point to the first two goals—two optimistic expectations that proved to be the quintessential downfalls of this shockingly disappointing season.
The 'Canes' offense did not rank among the league's best, as 14 other teams scored more in 2013 than the Hurricanes' 2.62 goals per game. And the promising, youthful forwards who were supposed to bring depth and freshness to the unit failed miserably, leaving Carolina completely reliant on their top six and desperately undermanned when injuries struck.
As the club now begins to look ahead to next October's new season, they have a difficult and brutally harsh summer of player evaluations ahead of them. Which forward lines should be trustworthy and reliable moving forward? Which forward lines need a massive shake-up? We break down how each trio stands at the end of this season on the coming slides.