Three questions with Carolina Hurricanes blog Canes Country

Alex Semin - USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes have been on top of the Southeast Division for much of the season and look to be the team to beat for the division crown. We asked Canes Country three questions leading into tonight about the immediate future of Carolina and the redemption of forward Alex Semin with the Hurricanes. Canes Country contributor Corey Sznajder sheds light for us.

Editors Note: These questions were poised yesterday to Canes Country and not in time to include a relevant quesiton regarding Adam Hall, who was claimed off waivers by the Canes today.

1. The April 3rd NHL trade deadline is approaching and it's pretty safe to assume the Hurricanes aren't going to be sellers this year. On the other hand, are they going to be buyers or stand pat and let the chips fall where they may? If they are buying, will Carolina be willing to move anyone in order to do it? Or will it be draft picks moved alone?

Everyone is expecting this team to be buyers at the deadline and
it's been reported a few times that the Canes are going to be looking
to trade for a "veteran defensemen" but we've yet to see a move.
They've already gone through 33 different players this season thanks
to a barrage of injuries so Jim Rutherford and Kirk Muller have seen
just about every option the organization has to offer right now.
They've managed to get to 15-10-1 with the squad they have now, but I
still think we'll see a minor trade or two around the deadline and one
of them will probably be for a defenseman or a penalty kill
specialist. As for who they will move to acquire those pieces, that's
still a mystery to most fans too. They have a couple of players that
they could move but we're not sure if it's enough to acquire who they
want. It's going to be a sellers market this year with so many teams
in the hunt and every contender looking to trade for similar players.
How this all shakes out will be interesting.

2. It's early yet, and the short season still has a ways to go... But assuming the Hurricanes are indeed the Southeast Division winner in the end (and there is no sign they won't be), who from the Eastern Conference's lower tiered teams do you fear the most as a first-round matchup?

Carolina's actually had a lot of success against teams outside of
the Southeast Division this year and most of their wins have come
against the team's occupying the 5-8 spots in the playoff race. The
one team who they have yet to play this season is the New York Rangers
and they could be trouble come playoff time if they make it in. The
Canes did not have any success against the Blueshirts last season and
they certainly have enough fire-power up front to give Carolina a run
for their money. That along with elite goaltending could make them a
tough matchup for any team even if they just manage to sneak in.
Although, Carolina's spot at the top of the division is far from
secure with the run the Winnipeg Jets have been on as of late so this
could be a moot point.

3. Alexander Semin had a reputation for being a floater when he played for Washington - a guy who played only when he felt like it. Obviously, that hasn't been so much the case in his time with Carolina. What do you think the difference has been for him?

I don't think anything has changed for him because his style of
play has been similar to what it was in Washington, only he is getting
more minutes and less negative publicity now. His bad reputation in
Washington was far overblown if you ask me. It's a little odd that a
player like Semin had such a bad rap there when he managed to produce
at such a high rate at even strength while playing second line minutes
in addition to being a contributing member on both special teams
units. A lot of people are going to credit a change of scenery or Eric
Staal's leadership for his "turnaround," but the truth is that Semin
has always been a great player who was scapegoated in Washington for
things that were never proven. I heard someone mention that Semin is
better off in Carolina because the fans and media appreciate him more
and I tend to agree with that.

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