If the Carolina Hurricanes intend to make the playoffs this coming season, they most likely will need to improve upon last year's performance in the shootout.

While many consider the shootout to be a gimmick or nothing more than a skills competition, repeatedly failing to earn the extra point awarded to the winner of a shootout can come back to haunt a team at the end of the season, especially if they fail to make it into the playoffs by a point or two.

Shootouts could even be more important in this abbreviated season.

Last season, the Hurricanes had a dismal 1-6 record in shootouts which was ranked last in the league. They scored a league low 4 goals in those seven contests on 21 shot attempts for a 19% shooting percentage, also worst in the league.

For comparison sake, New Jersey, who finished with a 12-4 record in shootouts last season, shot 57% for first in the league. Buffalo, at 15th in the league was at 33%.

A couple of other teams shot close to the percentage of the Canes at 20%, (Blues and Predators) but their save percentages were better, which helped them earn more wins.

Speaking of save percentage, surprisingly that was another weakness for Carolina. The team finished in 29th place with a .550 shootout save percentage last year.

Cam Ward, considered one of the best goalies in the league, finished in 50th place compared with other goalies in the NHL last season with a shootout save percentage of .571.