In the wake of the trade deadline Jim Rutherford express his priority for the off-season as the need for a top-six forward to play with Staal.
I am glad to hear this as I think few will disagree with that assessment.
My next thought was who should it be?
There are two routes to go for Jim Rutherford which ostensibly include unrestricted free-agents and hockey-trades.
The list of UFA forwards is long but most are over age 33. Here are a few notables.
Zach Parise – A name at the top of everyone’s list will see Parise command a huge contract from someone. This alone may take us out of the running unless management opens up the checkbook more than we all expect. At age 27 Zach isn’t the biggest guy on the ice but his work ethic and elite ability is well documented. Parise is my first choice but the realist in me says to move on.
Jared Stoll – At age 29 Stoll is a proven leader and very adept on the power play. He has a booming shot and plays with grit. Stoll is more affordable than Parise, making $3.6 currently; even with a raise would be in the $4million range. Stoll is my top choice behind Parise as a realistic get for the Hurricanes.
Dustin Penner – A close second for me is Penner who is one of the biggest forwards in the game today. At age 29 he is 6’4” and 242lbs and is known best for banging in front of the net. Affordable in the $4million range he would do well on this team with Staal, though has a label of inconsistency he would have to overcome.
Ray Whitney – HAS to be on this list. At age 39 Whitney is still going strong in Phoenix. Already this season, Whitney is nearing 20 goals and 60 points he hasn’t dropped off at all. Would he want to sign a 1 year deal for one last hurrah in Carolina?
Other players worth mentioning:
Alexander Semin – Inconsistent, expensive winger who is always a thorn in the side of the Hurricanes. If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em? Maybe not in this case.
Kristian Huselius – A big guy who does not play that way Huselius is always battling injuries. When healthy he is quick and shifty. For the Hurricanes it would be too much of a gamble to pay too much and not know who you are getting.
Andrei Kostitsyn – I have just never been sold on Kostitsyn. He has natural skill but does not seem consistent. If he will sign for a similar contract (1-2 years, ($3-3.5mill) he may be a gamble worth taking.
Mikhail Grabovski – A small shifty winger with a great scoring touch… sound familiar? The Canes have more of those than they know what to do with… many of whom are under age 25 and $1million.
The theme of most forward UFA’s seems to be older and inconsistent. Should we go the trade route?
To discuss potential trades is tough because it is a wide open pool based on ‘…is this player available for trade by their current team…?’ Most trades of this nature are a resounding NO during the season but soften up during the off-season as long as the trade is fair. A trade is likely the better option as we would not be competing as much with other teams driving up the price like with FA. When you trade for a player you have time to think about it and you know exactly the terms of the contract you are taking on.
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