We all know how busy JR was this off season, wheeling and dealing for free agency acquisitions, resigning current players who were close to free agency themselves and blockbuster trades involving star players, but from the looks of it, JR will be just as busy next year. The bottom half of our offensive corps is up for contract negotiations. Will there be Checkers ready to fill their spots by then? It seems like a couple could be viable options after a year/another year of seasoning. Will we have to address the losses though free agency? Lots of lower rung players are available in free agency every year. Either way, we’ll be seeing at least a few new faces on the roster. Let’s take a look at some of the players who may be one the way out after our season ends.
Alex Semin – JR was as skeptical about Semin’s work ethic as much as the rest of us. So he offered Semin a one year “trial basis” contract, if you will. That caused the asking price to go up about $1.5MM. But I’d rather JR blow his wad now for 1 season, than have long term contract signed by a player that turns out to be troublesome. If Semin performs his duties to the satisfaction of management, he’ll probably receive a new, longer contract in the off season. Hopefully, when/if the time does come to lock him up, JR isn’t as generous as he was when negotiating the one year deal. If everything doesn’t go swimmingly, he’ll probably be gone.
Chad LaRose– I think it’s safe to say that Rosie is one of the more beloved Hurricanes. He has been with the team his entire career and is a locker room presence. His on ice performance though, has been a bit erratic. No one thinks he’s ever going to be a 30 goal scorer, but scoring 20 goals a season consistently would help his chances of staying.
Anthony Stewart – If Rosie is one of the most beloved Canes, Stewart has to be one of the least admired. I’m betting it’s mostly because he doesn’t really bring much to the team, he’s often slow to react to the puck, and is not very positionally sound , but it could be also the silly jiggle hug he gives Cam after a win. Regardless, if he has another pedestrian year like his last few, he won’t be around next year.
Andreas Nodl – The only RFA of the group is the 25 year old Austrian. Nodl has yet to show any sustained offensive prowess and although JR is always willing to give players ample opportunity, this season may be the last chance he gets to show that he can help the lower half of the offensive units score some points. If we’re going to stick with this defensive line up, we’re going to need all of our lines to pitch in.
Tim Brent – Timmy Two plays the fourth line center position flawlessly. Although he is only a 20 point player, every team needs a Tim Brent. He is an incredible shot blocker and isn’t afraid to get in the dirty areas to get a goal. He’s only on the ice about 10-12 minutes a game, but for those 10-12 minutes you get 100% effort from him. JR generally rewards performance with contract extensions. If this holds true, Brent should be back.
Tim Wallace – Another recent acquisition, Wallace has shown some upside. This was most apparent towards the end of last season. Once again, JR was smart to keep his contract to one year so he can evaluate wether his uptick in production at the end of last season was a blip on the radar or if he is a legitimate 3rd/4th line forward.
Pat Dwyer – This is an important year for Dwyer. For whatever reason, he has never really added too much production when playing with the big boys. He may actually get a good shot at making the roster this year, but if he doesn’t sick this time, he might be out of Carolina sooner rather than later.
Joe Corvo – With the youngsters starting to look more and more like big leaguers every game, It’s unlikely Uh-Oh Joe will be back after this year. He should be a good stop gap this season or maybe even trade bait at the deadline, if he chooses to be traded, but it’s going to be pretty crowded at blue line next year. If for no other reason, JR will let him go after this season, just so he can bring him back the following year.