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Adding Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin to the mix wasn't enough to put the Carolina Hurricanes into the playoffs in 2013. While both additions have excelled in their new zip code, scoring depth has been an odd problem for the 'Canes, and the porous defense has allowed 3.2 goals per game.
Allowing more than three goals on average is never going to get a team anywhere in the NHL these days, and Carolina will need to shave this number down in a big way in 2014.
The top line of Semin, Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty have been among the best in the business in 2013. Staal has reestablished himself as a premier power forward, Semin has shown that he isn't quite as enigmatic as the Washington Capitals made him out to be, and Tlusty has erupted for 21 goals and 34 points.
There's a drop off after this trio, however.
Jeff Skinner hasn't been good through long stretches in 2013. He's posted 23 points but has a reckless plus/minus rating of minus-20. That just isn't good enough for a second line player in the NHL. The second unit as a whole has been disappointing, even with J. Staal posting 28 points.
The biggest reason for Carolina's bad season has been the overall failure of the youth to step up and support the top-line guys.
Skinner has regressed, and the likes of Zac Dalpe and Drayson Bowman have failed to make any sort of impact whatsoever.
2014 is a new year, and all the youngsters that Carolina has will have another season under their collective belts. If Skinner and Co. can turn things around next season, the Hurricanes will be a much better team.
A healthy season for Cam Ward would also be a large boost, as he's only played in 17 games for the Hurricanes this year.