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: The Carolina Hurricanes selected forward Elias Lindholm fifth overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)
The Carolina Hurricanes made two early surprising moves that solidified their status as legitimate contenders. Holding the fifth overall pick in the 2013 Draft, the Hurricanes knew that one way or another they were going to be able to pick up a player who could develop into a star franchise player.
Photo: Finnish defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen was the first of 11 players to have the Buffalo Sabres call their name at the 2013 NHL Draft (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The 2013 NHL Draft was considered by many to be the deepest draft in the last decade, with potential franchise players not just available at the top of the order, but all the way through the first round and into the second.
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.