Greetings Canes Fans! As the 2011-12 season is coming to a close, what better time than now to start looking at some of the key free agents that are available which may help the Hurricanes get back to next years Stanley Cup Playoffs. Although the talent pool is not as deep as in years past, there are still some key players out there that could have an immediate impact with the Carolina Hurricanes. Over the next few weeks I will be covering the top 5 unrestricted free agents that the Hurricanes may have their eye on.
For starters, we will just go through some of players that are available out there and a brief intro in what they may offer on the ice. The two biggest names that are out there right now are New Jersey Devils Left winger Zach Parise and the Nashville Predators Defensemen Ryan Suter. Parise and Suters situation are very similar. As far as Parise goes, the New Jersey Devils will hope they can re-sign him but financial issues which the club is facing may prevent them from keeping him. He is exactly what Canes GM Jim Rutherford is looking for, a top-tier forward. Canes fans dont get too excited with Parise as he is expected to get somewhere around $7 million per year should he get to the open market. In Suter’s case, he’s in an awkward situation being on the same team as Norris Trophy finalist and restricted free agent Shea Weber. The Predators could sign Suter and trade Weber, or keep Weber and let Suter walk to the highest bidder. I expect Suter to test the market and then possibly negotiate with the Predators.
Other free agents to keep an eye on are LW- Alexander Semin who some say ( if Parise goes quickly) may go to a team that lost out on the Parise sweepstakes. The Boston Bruins Center and alternate captain is 31 year old unrestricted free agent Chris Kelly. Now for some Canes fans that are reading this and thinking of the Tomas Kaberle signing they may get a rumble in there stomach but look at it this way, we got a Brandon Sutter bobblehead night out of it. On a serious note, Kelly had a career high in goals with 20 as well as 19 assists. Finally, the guy that I like and may be a nice fit to play on the same line as Eric Staal is P.A Parenteau. His 18 goals and 49 assists may be just what the Canes need to propel the line of Jiri Tlusty and Eric Staal, not to mention Parenteau’s price tag will be well under what Parise and Suter will demand. These are a few of the unrestricted free agents out there that will most likely cross Canes GM Jim Rutherfords desk. Yet we haven’t even talked about possible trade rumors. In the mean time fill up an inflatable pool, throw some dogs on the grill, grab a cold beverage and get ready for a hot summer of Canes hockey.