The Hurricanes made a clear off-season decision to load up and take an immediate run after a third-straight season without playoff hockey.
Carolina played good hockey from February onward last season, but the team's failure to play .500 hockey during the first three months inevitably made the post-season climb too steep.
The Canes' top prize remains Kitchener Rangers blueliner (and 2011 first-rounder) Ryan Murphy. The 19-year-old was finally able to crack Canada's World Junior roster on his final attempt this winter, although he was unable to bring home any hardware from the tournament.
With reigning All-Rookie defenceman Justin Faulk still in the fold alongside a returning Joe Corvo, the team may not be in a hurry to promote Murphy immediately.
The Hurricanes also boast good depth from outside the first round, as they got a bit of NHL service time out of Zac Dalpe and have found second-round picks projected to be solid NHLers in Victor Rask and Phil Di Giuseppe.
Two Staals are better than one. It became clear that Jordan was going to find his way to Raleigh one way or another in this offseason when he turned down a reported 10-year offer from the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was playing behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh, so the Canes pulled the trigger on a deal in hopes that his goal-scoring track record (20-plus in four of his six NHL campaigns) will get a bump with first line minutes.
Which Alexander Semin will show up this season? Are they getting the proven sniper that has outscored the likes of Jeff Carter, Zach Parise and Phil Kessel over the course of his NHL career? Or, are they getting the player who the Capitals didn't have the patience left to re-up him off last season's one-year deal? If he plays up to his standard earlier in his career, they've found a dangerous weapon to put alongside one of the Staals. If not, they've dropped $7 million on a 21-goal scorer - albeit for one season.
A look at where Huuricanes players went during the lockout:
Drayson Bowman (Charlotte, AHL), Zach Boychuk (Charlotte, AHL), Zac Delpe (Charlotte, AHL), Justin Faulk (Charlotte, AHL), Marc-Andre Gragnani (Charlotte, AHL), Jussi Jokinen (Oulu, Finnish Elite), Jamie McBain (Pelicans, Finnish Elite), Andreas Nodl (HC Innsbruck, Austria), Alexander Semin (Nizhny Novgorod, KHL), Anthony Stewart (Nottingham Panthers, British Elite League), Jiri Tlusty (Kladno, Czech League), Jeremy Welsh (Charlotte, AHL)