Canes skate into offseason with plenty of unknowns

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Carolina Hurricanes are digesting one of the more bizarre seasons in franchise history, but in the end, it will be deemed a success after landing a spot in the playoffs.

Using a year-over-year comparison of how the Canes fared against the Boston Bruins, things are trending up for the team.

"We definitely closed the gap there," said general manager Don Waddell. "Certainly felt different this year versus last year playing them. I feel like our guys especially took a big step, especially our younger players."

After making a lot of moves last year, Waddell said he's being cautious when it comes to roster changes.

"If we can upgrade out team at any position we certainly will look at that, but we're not out here saying we are going to make wholesale changes with our lineup," Waddell said.

No question the young stars took a step forward. Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho largely carried the Canes while in the bubble, and head coach Rod Brind'Amour said he knows they'll put in the work to get better.

"Seeing Sebastian after we were done, the look on his face, the pure devastation really like, this guy wants to win," Brind'Amour said.

However, it's unclear if Justin Williams has plans to return. With 20 NHL seasons under his belt, Williams is about to turn 39. His decision on retirement might be unknown, but there is no doubt about his last impression.

"If he doesn't play anymore, he left everything out there," Brind'Amour said. "That's something that not many guys can say that go out on those kind of terms. He had nothing left in the tank. He gave it all."

Carolina lost eight home games due to the pandemic, hurting revenues, and it's currently unclear when the next season will begin or what it will look like. Fans are sure to be limited, which will again hurt the club financially.

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The Canes are scheduled to host an outdoor game next February--but it's unclear at this time whether that will be allowed to take place. The team ordered special jerseys for that game and will be ready, even if it happens to get pushed back a year.
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