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Better Times Ahead? Written by Carl O'Linacanes - November 30th, -0001
After a better than expected Invitational Tournament this summer, Carolina jumped into pre-season and the regular season with high expectations. Unfortunately, they were soon brought back down to earth when everything seemed to go wrong. One win in the first seven games and dead last in the standings. Where are they headed from here?

It's been a rough start for GM AsmodeanReborn and coach Tony Granato. Things were shaken up and players like Rolston, Sullivan, and Zubrus were brought in.
"When you realize that your current plans take you in the wrong direction, you better be prepared to change them," GM AsmodeanReborn states.
"We wanted a team that was going to be able to compete with all four lines, and I think that's where we're currently headed."

One could certainly argue that it's had an effect, 4 wins in the last 6 games, and the team arguably could've won all of them. Ironically, it was their old goalie Leclaire who had his best outing of the season, stopping 25 out of 26 shots that stood in their way and put an end to a 3-game winning streak.

Meanwhile, the team hasn't given up on the future either. Canes have four first round picks in the upcoming draft, as well as three second rounders.
"We're certainly aiming at creating a strong youth movement here. At the moment we have a few players who are making the transition from young talented players and into solid veterans, and we need to make sure that the next generation comes in to be the new young blood in their place."

Players like Girardi, Wisniewski, Roy, Booth, Jones, Laich, and even Miller are in this transitional phase of their careers. But whether the next year's draft brings in super-star talents like Hedman or Tavares, or strong middle-first round projected picks like Kassian or Elliot, Carolina is looking to make their system one of the strongest and most talent-loaded in the league, and want players at all stages of their careers to be successful.
"We're looking at teams like Columbus and see how they've built the team from the ground up. They've made sure that they have enough talent in their system for when they can't afford to keep their current stars, and they have a good mix of players that are all difference-makers in their own right. That's what we want Hurricanes to be, that's what we want to give our fans."

Whether Carolina can completely turn things around remains to be seen. Players like Jagr, Stumpel, and Carney will have to be replaced, and it won't be easy. There's currently no player in Carolina's system that can fill the skates of somebody like Jagr, and even though Porter is very talented, he will likely never have 100-point seasons. Will the team dish out some cold hard cash for any of the big pending UFAs to temporarily fill in, or will they need pull off a blockbuster trade to bring in a superstar who already has a large contract? Only time will tell, and for now, coach Granato and GM AsmodeanReborn are mainly focused on getting the team to the playoffs and beyond.
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