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How the Hurricanes build their next Stanley Cup contender

It's been a long time since the Hurricanes were a top Stanley Cup contender. But change is in the air in Carolina. Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Can the Carolina Hurricanes win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19? They were among the best teams in the league just over a decade ago, made two trips to the Stanley Cup Final in four seasons, and emerged victorious in 2005-06. Since then, they have made the playoffs just once, and have placed no higher than sixth in their division for the past five seasons.

Next season's Hurricanes may be nothing like last season's. On Jan. 11, Tom Dundon became the team's new majority owner, and on Apr. 30, the Hurricanes terminated the contract of team president and GM Ron Francis. The next day, they hired Rick Dudley as senior vice president of hockey operations, and then confirmed Don Waddell as the team's new president and GM on May 8.

It's hard to predict what changes the team's new management will make in order to steer the Hurricanes back into Stanley Cup contention. A complete roster overhaul may even be under consideration, according to Bob McKenzie's report on TSN 1050 on May 14, which stated that everybody except Sebastian Aho could be available via trade, and that top players like Jeff Skinner were almost certain to move.

The Hurricanes have many options available to them, and as we demonstrated with teams like the Chicago Blackhawks here and the Detroit Red Wings here, statistical analysis can provide some insight into the consequences of each one. In Carolina's case, it wouldn't be impossible to achieve Stanley Cup contention immediately.

Here's how.