Photo: Swedish defenesman Henrik Tommernes, playing in his first season in North America, ranks second in defensive scoring for Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Utica (courtesy of Bob Frid/Icon SMI)
The inaugural season for the Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets, has indeed been a challenging one. Although the Comets have had some good wins over the last month, they still have dubious distinction of having the fewest standings points in the AHL.
Photo: The second of two Canucks selections in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft, Hunter Shinkaruk had a strong showing in preseason play before returning to Medicine Hat (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
In what some prognosticators are dubbing the most significant draft since the Sedins were drafted in 1999, the Canucks addressed multiple areas of concern, specifically their forward depth, during the 2013 NHL Draft.
Photo: Selected fifth overall in the 2013 NHL Draft, center Elias Lindholm (right) brings tremendous playmaking ability to the Carolina Hurricanes lineup. (courtesy of JUSSI NUKARI/AFP/Getty Images)
An injury riddled 2012-13 season saw the Carolina Hurricanes miss the playoffs for a fourth straight year. The organization finished tied for the fifth worst record in the NHL and struggled mightily to keep the puck out of their own net. Despite their struggles last season, the Hurricanes head into the 2013-14 season with a ‘win now’ mentality.
Photo: Selected seventh overall in the 2010 NHL Draft, forward Jeff Skinner had an immediate impact with the Carolina Hurricanes. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
An injury laden 2012-13 season derailed the Carolina Hurricanes hopes of qualifying for the playoffs, a feat they have not accomplished in the past four seasons. General Manager Jim Rutherford's trade for Jordan Staal last year and his long term signing of Russian sniper Alexander Semin signaled that the Hurricanes are in win-now mode and they believe a championship is within grasp.
Photo: Forward Victor Rask split the 2012-13 season between the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL and the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. Rask projects to be a second-line forward for the Hurricanes, possibly as soon as next year. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Despite lacking a lot of depth and talent, the Carolina Hurricanes organization has top-end prospects in the pipeline, including the offensively talented defenseman Ryan Murphy, and a potential rising offensive star in Victor Rask. There are also several good depth defensemen who, in the near future, could solidify the Carolina blue line.