May 23, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Damien Brunner (24) skates with the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks in game four of the second round for the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Free Agency: Carolina Hurricanes Should Be Adding A Forward, Not A Defenseman

The news that the Carolina Hurricanes are looking to add one of Ron Hainsey or Ryan Whitney is perplexing. It’s not what the team needs and I believe GM Jim Rutherford should be looking at a forward instead.


Right now the defense has eight NHL-caliber defenseman, which includes Brett Bellemore and Ryan Murphy. The defense is not ‘great’ by any means, but leagues better than last year.

Adding Whitney or Hainsey is not going to change things. Neither one is a defensive specialist or a top-pairing blue liner.

If one is signed and no one else moved, then Bellemore and Murphy will have to play with the Charlotte Checkers for another season.

This would likely help Murphy’s development, but Bellemore is as ready as he is going to be for the NHL. After four seasons and 290 games in the minor league, the only way Bellemore is going to learn more is if he is with the Canes next season.

Another possible side effect from adding another defenseman is that one of Joni Pitkanen or Tim Gleason could be traded.

The Carolina Hurricanes are rumored to be interested in Ryan Whitney. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Gleason didn’t have a great season last year, but he is a veteran leader for the defense and plays a strong stay-at-home game.

Pitkanen has dealt with injuries lately, but he is better than both Hainsey and Whitney so swapping him for either of those two doesn’t make sense at this point.


The Canes’ bottom six is not set in stone right now. Looking at the roster, it’s possible that 10 players will be fighting for those last six spots.

Of course, competition is good, but all of the players, save Patrick Dwyer and Kevin Westgarth, are young guys that have very little NHL experience.

Wouldn’t it be smarter for the Canes to sign a player for the bottom six that has more experience?

Some options include Brenden Morrow, Dustin Penner or Damien Brunner. Any of those players could bring grit, size and experience to the bottom six.

I would personally like to see the Canes go after Brunner, as he is young, fast and can score.

But Rutherford and the Hurricanes brass will see what’s fit for the Canes. Let’s just hope that the decisions work out for the team’s needs.

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Tags: Carolina Hurricanes Joni Pitkanen Tim Gleason

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