The Carolina Hurricanes have a build a nice foundation on the blue line. Justin Faulk could become a perennial all-star. Ryan Murphy could be ready to break in next season.
Jamie McBain could add some offense for a while to come. Tim Gleason and Jay Harrison are under contract as well. So is injury-plagued Joni Pitkanen.
But general manager Jim Rutherford told the Raleigh News and Observer that he hopes to upgrade the position this summer. Carolina has to get way better in its own zone to give Cam Ward a fighting chance to bounce back with a big season.
“Whether it be a physical defenseman, a puck-moving defenseman, two puck-moving defensemen, whatever it is, those are things the management team and the coaching staff will discuss at the end of the year,” Rutherford told the newspaper. “That’s an area it’s clear we need to make stronger.”
The team also needs its incumbent veterans to play a whole lot better.
“For a team that will finish as bad as we will, we don’t have to do major overall changes,” he said. “We’ve got the good core players in place. But some of those core players we’re going to expect more from.”