The stated offseason priorities for Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford were a fourth-line center and a backup goalie.

Tim Brent and Brian Boucher, respectively, look capable of answering those questions, but it's fair to ask whether the right questions are even being asked.

Missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five years since winning the Stanley Cup cried out for bigger upgrades. The Hurricanes needed help on offense, where Erik Cole left and wasn't replaced, leaving Eric Staal with even less talent on his wings than usual. The Hurricanes needed help on defense, where Cam Ward was all too often left holding the back for breakdowns in front of him.