Extreme makeover: Hurricanes

After loading up this offseason, Carolina favored in Southeast

Originally Published: July 30, 2012
By Neil Greenberg | Special to ESPN Insider
Alexander SeminNed Dishman/Getty ImagesAlexander Semin should be a huge help to the Carolina Hurricanes offense.

Trades and signings alter the makeup of rosters every summer, but some franchises renovate their rosters far more aggressively than others. For five weeks, Insider contributor Neil Greenberg will examine five of the biggest summer shake-ups to see what we can expect from the overhauled lineups in the coming season. The series continues with the Carolina Hurricanes.

After acquiring former Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal via trade this past June and signing Alexander Semin, the Washington Capitals' former 40-goal winger, to a one-year, $7 million contract, the message coming out of Carolina is clear: We want to win now.

"Certainly, the fact that we are now going out and paying a free agent $7 million is making a pretty strong statement about where we feel our team's at, and where we think we can go," general manager Jim Rutherford said.

The Southeast Division, the league's weakest in 2011-12, didn't have a team post a positive goal differential during the regular season. Florida needed just 94 points to secure the division's top spot, but that's still 12 more than Carolina was able to muster. Can two premier offseason acquisitions take the Canes from cellar dwellers to playoff contenders? The short answer is yes -- Staal and Semin can.

Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.