Greetings Canes fans! I hope everyone had a fantastic Fourth of July. I am sure the folks up north did, specifically Minnesota Wild fans. What a difference a few days make for a franchise. The Minnesota Wild landed not one but both of the key free agents that were on about 20 NHL teams radar. How did they do it? Money! Money! Money! Even though the Canes were out of the bidding war extremely quick, I have to admit that I said to myself “Why not us?” There are several reasons why I believe we were not an ideal fit for either free agent but that is a whole different story. Today I would like to ask the question “What is next for the Hurricanes?” Well for starters there are the Rick Nash trade rumors. It appears we are no longer interested in him, due to Bluejackets General Manager Scott Howson’s recent request of Jeff Skinner being involved in a possible trade for Nash.
We have all heard the comments from Canes’ GM Jim Rutherford on the game changer of a trade that he made at the NHL draft when he acquired Jordan Staal. Going into free agency, the Staal trade was still being talked about and had many from the hockey media world and Canes fans asking “What’s next for the Canes?” I look back at how the free agency period began and I find it hard to believe that the Canes had Joe Corvo as a must get. Was this the game changer that Jim Rutherford was referring too? I highly doubt it. It looks to me like we need more help on the blue line and there are not too many teams out there that are knocking at the Canes door wanting to wheel and deal. They were all busy signing free agents to improve their teams. Not that Corvo is a bad player, but Canes fans ask yourself the questions “Is he a better player than Bryan Allen? Did our defense get better?” I understand what Rutherford meant by what he had said, at least I think I do. He must have been referring to improving his team via a trade.
So with Nash being out of the equation and the Anaheim Ducks wanting a second line Center for winger Bobby Ryan, it appears that we are going back to the free agency drawing board. I hate to say it but that well is darn near dry. I look at what our division opponents have done so far this off season and I begin to feel that we may be on the outside looking in. Really? But the Canes traded for Jordan Staal. Yes and that was a trade to move the team in the right direction but what direction are we heading into now? This is not the NBA or the NFL where you acquire two or three superstars and make a run at a championship. It almost appears that management was so focused on Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and being involved in the Rick Nash Soap Opera that we neglected several players that would have the potential to improve our blue line and give our offense a little more firepower. For all it’s worth, it looks like the Hurricanes front office may be a little busier throughout the summer. Not by hitting the beach or getting a little R&R but by trying to fill some holes on the Canes depth chart. I know management isn’t in the business of adding players just to add them but the players you were focused on are gone. So what do we do now? I am sure that the front office has a plan and I am sure that come October the Hurricanes will be a better team than they were at the end of last year. The only question that is left to ask is “How much better?”