The Carolina Hurricanes did not have a good 2013 season. There are holes that need to be filled, albeit smaller ones, but the Canes are entering the summer with about $7.6 million in cap space, so what is GM Jim Rutherford‘s plan?
Despite having a bad season, the Hurricanes do not have a lot of cap space because $31 million is tied up in the Staal brothers, Alexander Semin, Tuomo Ruutu and Jeff Skinner. That’s five forwards or 25 percent of the team taking up almost half of the salary cap. Rutherford has dug himself into a deep hole and this off-season could be a busy one for the Hurricanes.
A possible amnesty clause option could have been Ruutu, but Rutherford announced at the end-of-year press conference that there would be no buy-out this year. The Canes would still have the option of two buy-outs next summer if they feel they should use one or both then.
With amnesty out the window, trading could be the answer for fixing the Hurricanes’ salary cap problems. Some options could be Drayson Bowman, Justin Peters, Patrick Dwyer and Jaime McBain. Bowman, Dwyer and McBain could find suitors easily on the trade market, but it might be more difficult to trade Peters.
The 26-year-old goaltender has a modest cap hit at just over $500,000 but he has not proven much in the NHL, especially in the back-up position. But a late-round pick may be achievable for Peters.
The Hurricanes could also try trading Skinner. Others have speculated on this option and it may not be a bad idea. The move could work similarly to the Rick Nash trade, with the Columbus Blue Jackets receiving two young roster players and a good prospect. Of course Skinner would not return as much as Nash, but could definitely add depth to the team.
If Rutherford decides to make minimal trades, the Canes will be in a tough spot. There are a few players that will be free agents that will need to be re-signed or replaced that will take up most of the $7 million in cap space. The team would also not be able to add too many depth players to the roster.
If Rutherford makes a few trades this summer, he will be able to add players and work on improving the team. If not, the team will have a similar mold going into the 2013-14 season.