As painful as this season has been with the dismal start and the trade of Cullen and soon, I believe, Ray Whitney, the end result will ultimately be a stronger Canes team long term. Some fans feel that same sadness about Wallin being traded. I understand the huge feeling of loss as popular players are traded. As for me, I am comforted by the idea that perhaps Whitney and/or Cullen might under the right circumstances be re-signed.
Jim Rutherford is indeed in the catbird seat. Even if Whitney is not traded, he now has four of the top 60 picks in the draft. I am convinced Whitney will be traded for a first round draft pick and a prospect. Given the lack of experienced defensemen on playoff teams, I believe Corvo will be traded for a second round draft choice and a prospect. If those two trades occur, Jim Rutherford will have 6 of the top 60 picks. He may even be able to work his magic and trade second round picks and a player for a first round pick. In any event, six picks in the top 60, with one being a top five (which is the highest likely finish for the Hurricanes), the 2010-2011 Hurricanes organization will purely and simply be loaded with young talent. Additionally early second round picks are extremely close to being first round picks. So if Whitney is traded, the Hurricanes will essentially have three first round picks. It seems increasingly likely that Aaron Ward and Yelle will be traded at the trade deadline as teams seek experienced veterans for the playoff run.
Alexandre Picard is an excellent prospect and I expect him to start next season for the Hurricanes. Some changes are more difficult than others, and the personnel changes will be an emotional experience for most of us. As for me, I am excited about the rebuilding prospect and the chance that with a grassroots effort the Hurricanes can reach 15,000 STHs. To do so, will not only make the Hurricanes teams better, it will ensure that economic reasons alone won't require talented veteran players to be traded because the Hurricanes have a disappointing year.