Feb 19, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey (6) during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center. Jets beat the Sabres 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Free Agency: Carolina Hurricanes Pursuing Defenseman

After days of speculation that the Carolina Hurricanes were after the services of Jaromir Jagr in free agency, it turns out the team is actually looking for a defenseman according to a tweet by Josh Rimer:

Rimer also tweeted the two main targets for the Canes:

Ron Hainsey and Ryan Whitney are both offensive-defensemen that have some problems in their own end. However, they can both log a lot of minutes and play in the top four.

Hainsey is 32-years-old and has played for the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets for the past five seasons earning $4.5 million a year.

Whitney has jumped around the league during his career playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers. Last year was a tough year for the 30-year-old, which included healthy scratches, less minutes and trade rumors.

Signing either of these two would increase the Canes’ depth, but not really fill a need 0n the defense. With another addition, the Hurricanes defense would consist of 9 defensemen that could play in the NHL next season, including Brett Bellemore and Ryan Murphy.

If GM Jim Rutherford is able to sign Whitney or Hainsey, don’t be surprised if another defenseman is traded. One possibility could be Joni Pitkanen, whose spot can be replaced by one of the free agents.

This is a surprising turn of events for the Canes, who were originally thought to be looking for a forward. The next few days could be busy in North Carolina.

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Tags: Carolina Hurricanes Joni Pitkanen Ron Hainsey Ryan Whitney

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