Chip Alexander, the new Hurricanes beat writer for the N & O, has what he thinks will be Carolina’s lineup tomorrow night on his blog when the Caps travel to Raleigh. Some of the guys I am looking forward to seeing include Drayson Bowman, Brandon Sutter and Jeff O’Neill. Bowman was great in the Memorial Cup last season, and could be a surprise boost for the ‘Canes, especially with Justin Williams gone for months because of injury. Sutter was a first-round pick with a famous last name and could be a defensive-minded center for Carolina as soon as this season. And if Sergei Samsanov can revive his career in Raleigh, then why can’t O’Neill? Getting a nice season from any of those three could soften the blow from losing Williams and help Carolina keep pace with Washington and maybe Tampa Bay in the Southeast.
BTW, in case anyone missed it over the summer Luke DeCock — the previous beat writer (and for my money, one of the best in the business) — is now a columnist at the N & O, so he should still be around plenty to weigh in the ‘Canes and the Southeast division.