It’s the beginning of May (May the fourth be with you), and it’s been less than a month since the regular season has ended for the Carolina Hurricanes. Though there are still about 150 days until opening night (yes, I’m kind of counting…sue me), the summer should be filled with excitement and hope for many Caniacs. There are two unrestricted free agents (Bryan Allen, Jaroslav Spacek) that will be looking for new deals. Canes general manager Jim Rutherford said that he had already offered Allen a new contract, but it has been rejected. He’ll be busy working with his agent to hopefully keep him in a Canes sweater for 2012-2013 and beyond. Several players in the Canes organization are restricted free agents (Jamie McBain, Drayson Bowman, Jeremy Welsh, Zach Boychuk, Jerome Samson, Chris Terry, etc.). Jiri Tlusty was on the restricted free agents list, but he earned a contract extension on April 24th worth two years and $3.2 million.
Then, there’s the draft. The Canes are scheduled (key word) to pick 8th in the first round in the draft. There will be good players in the eighth spot, including possibly Jeff Skinner and Ryan Murphy’s former teammate Radek Faksa, a 6’3″, 202-pound center from the Kitchener Rangers and maybe Alex Galchenyk, who is a 6’1″, 198-pound center from Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League. Will the Canes possibly trade up? They do have two picks in the second round as well as three picks in the fourth round. If there’s a player that Jim Rutherford and his scouting team really want and don’t believe will fall to them, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. It has happened before, namely in 2004, where they had the eighth spot and traded up four spots with the Columbus Blue Jackets to nab Andrew Ladd. Is it possible? Sure…Just don’t expect them to overpay to move up.
Then, there are the rumors. Oh boy, have we heard rumors of late. The latest one is potentially having Jordan Staal, younger brother of Canes’ captain Eric, join him in Carolina for a Staal family reunion. Whether it’s via trade for next year or through free agency the year after, that will certainly keep the Canes in the rumor mill for quite a while. This goes along with the “big contract” that the Canes are apparently after this summer — whether it’s current New Jersey Devils’ captain Zach Parise or Nashville Predators’ defenseman Ryan Suter or other players to fill in where the Canes still need help.
I personally believe it’s going to be an active and exciting summer for the Canes. It has been several years since the team has sniffed the playoffs and with the help of Kirk Muller and the new coaching staff as well as bringing in some other help in certain key areas, the Hurricanes should be able to have a memorable season next year.