Carolina Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford held his end of season press conference yesterday. While there were not any bombshells dropped, you could read between the lines a bit to see what the direction of the franchise will be this offseason.
When asked if the team got lucky at the end, or is this really a good team?
This is a good team. But most importantly, the team has a lot of character and heart. They have a will to win.
When asked if Rod Brind'Amour would have to earn a spot next year at training camp?
Nothing here but Ward and Staal is cast in stone. With the emergence of Jokinen this past season and having Brandon Sutter, our depth at center is now better than ever. For the first time in his career, Rod will not be slotted in a position when the season starts. He will have to fight for a job and earn his ice time in training camp just like everyone else. Spots are wide open in training camp.
After being asked repeatedly if they were going to sign Paul Maurice to a new contract?
The goal is to bring back the entire coaching staff intact. It's just not an automatic though because we are still in the interview process. They have good chemistry and we were very pleased with the way they worked together. Jeff Daniels will return as head coach at Albany. Even though the team did not make the playoffs, we think that he did an outstanding job there.
When asked about Erik Cole?
When we traded for Cole, we lacked size and needed to improve team speed. Those needs have not changed. While his performance was disappointing in the playoffs, it does not make him a bad player, nor does it eliminate him from being re-signed next season. But as with any of the free agents, it depends upon how much their agents have them valued at.
When asked which prospects would have the best chance to make the team next season?
Well, Conboy will be there for certain. He already has a one-way deal. Rodney and Carson have both played very well and should be in the mix. But who we are most excited about is our next group, Boychuk, Bowman, and Mike Murphy. The hard thing will be to determine if they are better off staying here, or getting more experience at a lower level.
Listen to the entire interview here and check out the player interviews as well.