“Winning Culture” was printed on new T-shirts and the phrase was heard often this summer at the Carolina Hurricanes’ prospects development camp.

Expect to see and hear it again when Eric Staal Cam Ward and the Canes’ big boys come back next month for preseason training camp.

“It says this is what we're all about” Canes coach Kirk Muller said. “This is a franchise that's won a Stanley Cup and not every organization can say that. It reflects on the past but it's also what we expect now.

“It's saying ‘We've got to get back to winning.’ It's an expectation and an attitude within our guys to do better. We want to be a team battling in the playoffs next year and every year.”

Since reaching the NHL's Eastern Conference finals in 2009 the Hurricanes have failed to qualify for the playoffs four straight seasons. Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006 they've been in the playoffs just once.

Now comes a new NHL look with a new playoff setup. The Hurricanes join the Metropolitan Division no longer competing against the likes of the Tampa Bay Lighting and Florida Panthers in the Southeast Division. Instead they’ll see more of teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers.

“It should be interesting” Canes defenseman Justin Faulk said. “The new division looks like it should be pretty tough but everybody in the league is probably saying the same thing. I'm amped up to get back and get the season going.”

The Hurricanes will have some new faces in the locker room. Defensemen Andrej Sekera and Mike Komisarek backup goalie Anton Khudobin and forward Nathan Gerbe joined the team during the offseason. Swedish forward Elias Lindholm the Canes’ first-round draft pick this year could be in the lineup on opening night and another free agent also could be signed.

Questions abound – seemingly as many as players on the roster – as the Hurricanes look to the 2013-2014 season.