LAST SEASON: 36-35-11, 83 points. Missed the playoffs by finishing 13th in the Eastern Conference.
COACH: Bill Peters, 1st season with Hurricanes; 1st overall in NHL.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Eric Staal. The captain is coming off the most disappointing season of his career, with his 21 goals his fewest in an 82-game season since he was a rookie a decade ago. With a salary of $9.25 million, he's one of the highest-paid players in the game but he managed just one power-play goal last season. He had sports hernia surgery during the offseason, and a fresh start with the detail-driven Peters could be just what Staal needs.
OUTLOOK: No team in the current alignment of the Eastern Conference has a longer playoff drought than the Hurricanes, who haven't made the postseason since 2009. How quickly Peters' message of focus and personal accountability gets through to a largely unchanged roster will determine whether that streak finally ends this season.