The Carolina Hurricanes finished 2 pts out of a playoff spot in 2010-11, and are widely considered to be a team “on the rise”. They have a great mix of superstars, quality veterans and young talent, and players genuinely enjoy being part of the organization. That’s why so many pending UFAs sign there.
The Hurricanes are set in goal for the next little while with Cam Ward, although they don’t want him playing 74 games like he did last season. The defense will feature no changes, with anchor Joni Pitkanen recently signing a long-term deal to remain with the club. Given the large amount of cap space that GM Jim Rutherford has to work with, if Carolina is poised to be a playoff team, I would expect he would add a top 4 defenseman during the season. Up front, it’s too bad Erik Cole will not return, as that will leave a major void on Eric Staal’s right. Young superstar Jeff Skinner leads a group of prospects that will be counted on to play on the top 3 lines this season; a group which includes Zac Dalpe and one of Drayson Bowman/Zach Boychuk.
It won’t be a major problem, but the Carolina Hurricanes do need to keep an eye on the cap floor. They need to spend approximately $5 million to fill out their roster. The first order of business is to find a replacement for Erik Cole. There are not too many options on the UFA market, so a trade is possible if they don’t get who they want. The Canes will also be spending $1.0M-$1.5M on a backup goalie who can start a good 15-18 games; and there will be plenty of options available on July 1. Other than a couple of depth forward signings (wouldn’t rule out them bringing back Tlusty and/or Bodie), the Hurricanes won’t be overly active this offseason, as they have gotten most of their work done prior to July 1.
CAROLINA HURRICANES 2011-12 ROSTER (using CAPGEEK CAP CALCULATOR)
Jussi Jokinen ($3.000m) / Eric Staal ($8.250m) / Tuomo Ruutu ($3.800m)
Zac Dalpe ($0.875m) / Jeff Skinner ($1.400m) / TOP 6 WING ($0.000m)
Drayson Bowman ($0.845m) / Brandon Sutter ($2.500m EST) / Chad Larose ($1.700m)
DEPTH WINGER ($0.000m) / 4TH LINE C ($0.000m) / Pat Dwyer ($0.625m)
Joni Pitkanen ($4.500m) / Bryan Allen ($2.900m)
Tim Gleason ($2.750m) / Joe Corvo ($2.250m)
Jamie McBain ($0.850m) / Jay Harrison ($0.700m)
Derek Joslin ($0.600m EST)
Cam Ward ($6.300m) / BACKUP GOALIE ($0.000m)
SALARY CAP: $64,300,000
CAP PAYROLL: $43,845,833
CAP SPACE: $20,454,167
With the right signings, a healthy roster and continued improvement from their young players; the Carolina Hurricanes are on track to contend for a playoff spot in 2011-12. Watch out for rookie Zac Dalpe, he will see plenty of ice time in offensive situations and could be one of this year’s breakout players.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.