During the 2012-13season, coach Kirk Muller was scrutinized often for the dismal play of his team during the second half. But Muller was not the only one that did not meet the expectations of his job. GM Jim Rutherford also needs to improve on the decisions he makes.
Last summer, Rutherford made the draft-day trade for Jordan Staal. It’s too early to tell who won the trade, but the Hurricanes have to be happy with Staal on the roster. He helps the defense, winning face-offs and gives the Canes a second-line center. But it was a smaller decision that would end up hurting the Hurricanes more.
Rutherford let Bryan Allen enter free agency, where he eventually signed with the Anaheim Ducks. Allen did not play such an important role that he needed to be re-signed, but his defensive play needed to be replaced. Instead, Rutherford signed ex-Hurricane Joe Corvo when there was already enough offensive defensemen on the roster. In one small free agency signing Rutherford made a move that would hurt his team.
When Cam Ward was injured, Rutherford said he would not trade for a goalie and Dan Ellis and Justin Peters would take over the net. This may have been the right move, since another goalie would cost assets in a trade, but the Philadelphia Flyers got Steve Mason for a third-round pick, which maybe would have been a better option for the Canes. Mason had a 4-2 record with the Flyers, the same amount of wins as Peters and only two less than Ellis.
Rutherford made a few errors in the past year, that he cannot make again this year. This summer Rutherford needs to add defensive defensemen and bottom six forwards to his team. There is no need for a big addition like Staal or Alexander Semin. The things that need to be changed are minor additions and as long as Rutherford acts accordingly, he can set up his team for a better season next year.