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Staal and/or Parise? – The Hurricanes Stepping Up!

Posted By Johnny G On May 2 2012 @ 12:30 pm In Carolina Hurricanes | 1 Comment

The Rumor mill is going full force in Canes Country.

First thing, the Canes need to shed this $17 million salary from Jeremy Welsh…

seriously though…

Shortly before the end of the season TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted, suddenly, that the Hurricanes would be making a huge effort to sign New Jersey’s Zach Parise and Nashville’s Ryan Suter upon the opening of free-agency.  Unfortunately those rumors have been put on hold since both of those teams/players are still embroiled in the play-offs.

I feel it is worth noting that my personal opinion about tweets and blogs vary based on who actually says it.  I have a lot of trust and respect in Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie and feel their words carry a lot of weight as they are so tapped into the pulse of the league that if they say something there is great validity in even the smallest comments.  Their tweets/articles are never accidental or ‘thinking out loud.’  Bob McKenzie’s words regarding the Hurricanes also carry greater weight as he is said to know Jim Rutherford well outside of hockey.

McKenzie posted several tweets yesterday a few words on the Penguins number three center, and brother of Hurricanes captain, Jordan Staal.  The Penguins are coming up on a tough 2 year span with serious decisions to make.   In one year, from July 1st, the Penguins will have to face both Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal as unrestricted free-agents while considering Evgeni Malkin’s future in the following year.  Malkin and Crosby are widely known for their importance to that team while Staal has emerged as a dominate force when those players are absent.  This conundrum has been exacerbated by the Penguins first round bounce in this year’s playoffs.

Reading between a lot of lines here, it seems like Jordan Staal could be a Hurricane before July 1st.  The risk involved is that while Staal will be in Carolina for next season until he signs an extension he may not be beyond.  Who do we trade? And if we lose him after next season will we have lost too much in that trade.

My issue with getting Staal is an already deep line of centers.  Eric Staal, Jussi Jokinen, Jeremy Welsh, Brandon Sutter, Tim Brent and Jordan Staal.  Eric and Jussi are also adept wingers… no matter who you shake it someone (two?) will have to go.   Speaking of centers…

Could the Hurricanes conceivably get both Jordan Staal and Parise?  Sure! Though we would have to shed a bigger contract to make it work, unless team owner Peter Karmanos is willing to spend to the cap.  The Hurricanes stand, as of today, around $20 million shy of today’s cap limit.  That cap limit is expected to drop by a few million when the new collective bargaining agreement is reached this summer.

Which players could the Hurricanes do without?  Note; the players I will mention are based more on financial issues and not whether I like them.  Joni Pitkanen, Jussi Jokinen, Tuomo Ruutu, and Tim Gleason all top the list in the second tier salary list.  Gleason and Ruutu both just signed extensions so for them to be moved is less likely.   Could Jim Rutherford move one of those guys and also trim salary for redundant players?  The best example of that is Chad LaRose and Patrick Dwyer.  LaRose makes $1.7mill and Dwyer has one of the lowest prices at $625k.  Both are described identically as ‘two-way, defensively responsible forwards, lacking and scoring threat.’  LaRose’s only added benefit is that he has seen plenty of top tier line time along-side of Staal which bumps his stats up a bit.  LaRose is capable of stepping up when injuries happen… but he is ultimately a 3rd-4th line player, just like Dwyer.  There is an extra $million right there.

Pitkanen becomes more expendable for a few reasons.  Seeing as how he missed a large portion of last season, the team soldiered on without him, successfully.  With Sanguinetti and Murphy expected to make a huge push in training camp, the Hurricanes will have more than enough offensive blue-liners than they need.  Spacek becomes less needed though he brings a calming veteran leadership to the room.  A few years ago the Hurricanes were one of the older teams in the league, now they have to worry about being ‘too-young’ and lacking in veteran leadership.

Jim Rutherford discussed the risk teams take going into July 1st and bidding for a player.  Parise is certainly steering his own ship, as he should, though it’s a gamble for the Hurricanes to wait until July 1st and potentially miss Parise and others in bidding wars.  Ideally Rutherford has to look to trade for their rights and re-sign them before they hit July 1st.

Regardless of how this shakes out, Hurricanes fans have every reason to be excited, whether Parise is brought in or not.  The Hurricanes will be upgrading over the next year and while it is all up in the air now we should be ready for hockey July 2nd!

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