Earlier this week the Hurricanes made their first move of 2012 in hopes of both building for the future and paving the way for the plethora of young soon-to-be NHL stars.
The past few weeks have been full of rumors and ‘hurry up and wait’ mentalities surrounding anyone following the Hurricanes. While Gleason and Ruutu are the most used names in the rumor mill Ponikarovy was the first Hurricanes NHL-er to be shipped out.
Ponikarovsky was traded to the New Jersey Devils, for a 4th round pick and minor league defenseman Joe Sova, minutes after the Hurricanes shut out the Washington Capitals on Friday night. Two nights before that however Jim Rutherford was able to land promising prospect Evgenii Dadonov from the Florida Panthers for Checker Jon Matsumoto. That trade included the aquisition of A.J. Jenks for Mattias Lindstrom.
Dadonov has proven that he is NHL ready and will likely be gunning for a spot in September in Raleigh. Matsumoto has his strengths but at age 25 was getting lost in the depth chart of centers the Hurricanes have been able to stock pile. Dadonov’s arrival does create some interesting questions for guys like Zach Boychuk who are poised to break through but just have not done so yet. Dalpe and Samson have shown their worth and are right along side of Dadonov in the running for forward spots next season.
By moving Ponikarovski out, Jim Rutherford dumped a little less than half of his $1.5 mill salary from the books and signaled a likleyhood that he will not be back next season.
Tuomo Ruutu, however, is very likley to be traded though there is hope that he may be re-signed this summer. Jim Rutherford has not tipped his hat as to whether he plans to bid for Ruutu this summer, and once Ruutu is gone via trade Rutherfard cannot likley discuss that until July 1st.
I keep playing around with my projections of the Hurricanes lineup for next season as it stands now and where the likley holes are for any moves going forward. This becomes tough because we all know the organizations feelings towards Chad LaRose but economically Patrick Dwyer makes more sense than bringing back LaRose for virtually the same position. LaRose is signed through next season at $1.9mill ($1.7 cap hit) but if Rutherford is clearing overpriced contracts off the books it is certainly one to take a look at.
Not to completely run LaRose out of town;
He is a solid coachable player.
Great on the kill.
Tons of energy and spirit.
He brings a lot to the locker room.
The Hurricanes are comepletely in the right to want a player likel that in the room. I take issue with LaRose playing top line minutes. I have always liked LaRose and felt he fits well with out team … as a 3rd line guy. I have never had confidence in top six minutes for LaRose, while you can certainly count on him to step up to the top six for injury situations.
Going forward with the roster, knowing the players that are likley to be kept and re-signed seems up in the air now. Sure Ruutu, Spacek, Gleason and Allen are likely to be dealt by the deadline but which of those players are going to be returning this summer? That list includes half of our defense and a solid top six winger. Couple that with the question mark over Pitkanen and the Hurricanes are poised for another interesting summer.
About the Author
Written by Johnny G
Originally from Virginia I grew up loving hockey. Once hockey came to Carolina it's been the Hurricanes all the way for me. After completing my degree at Full Sail University I moved to Raleigh NC with the purpose of working with Canesvision, of which I did and still currently work. I attend every game and have had the pleasure of being a part of many of the Hurricanes greatest moments, including the Stanley Cup run in '06. I like to take a realistic look at rumors, specifically trade rumors, and apply reason and logic to best break down the feasibility of each rumor. 99% of rumors are wishful thinking that align themselves with "sources," while few actually have a basis for the possibility. Though I am a Hurricanes fan, I am a hockey fan of all levels and hope to bring a universal approach to the daily news of the Carolina Hurricanes organization. Follow me @johnnyghockey