Here is an update on the Blueprint for the return of the Hurricanes next season.  The Hurricanes are playing Hurricanes hockey.  It is a shift by shift battle to maintain focus and to forget anything but the moment.  Still,  Jim Rutherford has followed the blueprint, with the exception that he decided (with clear input from Whitney) not to trade Whitney.  It remains unclear at the moment what Whitney was asking, what Rutherford named as the final asking price, and what was offered.



 (1) Cole returns; -- status:  Cole should return within the next two weeks or so [on schedule] COLE HAS TAKEN LONGER THAN EXPECTED TO RETURN  --  NOTE COLE HAS NOW RETURNED (ON SCHEDULE)

 (2) Tlusty gets time in Carolina;  statuts:  Tlusty is playing this afternoon [on schedule]  STILL ON SCHEDULE -- NOTE:  TLUSTY HAS NOT GOTTEN AS MUCH TIME IN CAROLINA AS ONE MIGHT HAVE THOUGHT (PERHAPS A LITTLE BEHIND SCHEDULE)

(3) Boychuk gets time in Carolina;  status:  Boychuk is playing this afternoon [on schedule] STILL ON SCHEDULE -- BOYCHUK IS PLAYING AND HAD TWO ASSISTS AGAINST THE SENATORS,  (ON SCHEDULE)

 (4) Walker is traded by the deadline;  Status:  Walker is on I.R. [not yet traded]  WALKER HAS TAKEN LONGER THAN EXPECTED TO RETURN -- WALKER TRADED TO CAPS (ON SCHEDULE)

(5) Brindy becomes the invisible man on the ice.  Status:  Brind'Amour's time on ice is steadily being reduced and is now around 4 to 5 minutes a game even strength [on schedule] (healthy scratch is preferable to the inability of rolling a strong fourth line with Brind'Amour in the lineup)  BRIND'AMOUR'S TIME ON ICE HAS SETTLED IN AT AROUND 8 TO 9 MINUTES AND HIS +/- -27 REMAINS AMONG THE NHL'S WORST. -- BRIND'AMOUR IS PLAYING HIS BEST HOCKEY OF THE SEASON;  HE HAD A GOAL AGAINST SENATORS;  HE SEEMS TO BE ENERGIZED PLAYING WITH BOYCHUK



  (1) Taylor Hall (or Tyler Seguin) is drafted;  status:  Hurricanes are almost a lock to finish 30th or 29th and to be able to draft Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin (or perhaps Cam Fowler -- although if I were Rutherford I would draft Hall if available and if not then Seguin)  (STILL TO BE DETERMINED WHERE THE HURRICANES FINISH AND WHO WILL BE AVAILABLE; THIS YEAR'S DRAFT IS CRITICAL TO THE CANES SHORT AND LONG TERM)

  (2) Wallin is not re-signed;  Status:  no public statement of intention whether or not to re-sign Wallin WALLIN IS TRADED FOR A SECOND ROUND DRAFT PICK -- AMAZING;  -- STILL AMAZING THAT WALLIN WAS TRADED FOR A SECOND ROUND PICK -- GM BRILLIANCE


  (3) A. Ward is not re-resigned;  Status:  no public statement of intention whether or not to re-sign A. Ward  NO WORD ON AARON WARD OTHER THAN ONE OR TWO MORE DEFENSEMEN MAY BE TRADED -- {even more amazing than Wallin being traded is the fact that Ward was traded;  that is a great day for the Hurricane nation even though his play was vastly improved}

  (4) Yelle is not re-signed; Status:  no public statement of intention whether or not to re-sign Yelle -- YELLE traded

  (5) add puck moving, scoring defensemen who can take long minutes and score on power play;  Status:  no public statement of intention -- ALEXANDRE PICARD IS A LARGE, PUCK MOVING DEFENSEMAN; {Pothier is also a puck moving defenseman}

  (6) trading Cullen for draft choices, younger player, or prospects;  Status:  no public statement of intention; but Cullen mentioned in trade rumors without indication from Rutherford that Cullen is untouchable [Cullen is playing his best hockey in years.  Cullen has the speed and intellect needed for Maurice's system.  His age, lack of inside physical game, and lack of crushing checking are factors that could argue for trading him to a run and gun team like Philadelphia where other players can play the role of physical forward and he can be a slashing, break away forward. He could also help mentor and settle down the young, talented forwards coming up from Albany and this year's draft]. CULLEN IS TRADED FOR SECOND ROUND PICK AND ALEXANDRE PICARD

 (7) trading Whitney for draft choices, younger players, or prospects; Status:  no public statement of intention; but commentators are saying Rutherford wants to re-sign Whitney and that he is not available [very valid argument exists to re-sign Whitney as a tutor for the many fine, young forward prospects and as a leader in the locker room and on the ice.  Equally persuasive argument exists for trading Whitney at the deadline and re-signing him next year; strong argument for going with youth and trading Whitney.  Whitney has earned loyalty of the Hurricanes organization and he should return to coach or go into management after his career ends.]  JIM RUTHERFORD HAS INDICATED WHITNEY WILL BE TRADED BUT IT WILL LIKELY BE AT OR NEAR TRADE DEADLINE -- {Rutherford had said he did not want to trade Whitney; and ultimately no trade occurred; Whitney is a core player and if the Hurricanes are indeed ready to make the playoffs next season,  Whitney has always been a money time player and will help the Hurricanes next season}


  The unknowns or riding the wave of hope:

(1) Will Corvo be re-signed or will a scoring, puck-moving defenseman be part of a trade?  Status:  No public statement of intention.  Good arguments exists for either decision by Jim Rutherford. ONLY STATEMENT BY JIM RUTHERFORD IN THAT REGARD IS THAT ONE OR PERHAPS TWO DEFENSEMEN WILL BE TRADED --{Corvo traded and the trade is great for Carolina; Osala seems to be the real deal; Pothier replaces Corvo, and a second round pick in 2011}

(2) Does Jim Rutherford feel in his heart of hearts that in the new NHL the prototype hulking beast power forward is critical? If so, there are a list of prospects available [see long post on the subject].  Status:  no public statement of intention.  Jim Rutherford has said publicly that he intends to build a bigger team.  The Hurricanes organization lacks the jumbo sized power forward in their system -- unlike Penguins, San Jose, Washington, Phoenix, and Columbus who are stocking their AHL teams with large, aggressive power forwards. NO SPECIFIC STATEMENT BY JIM RUTHERFORD  -- {Osala fits the mold of the kind of hulking beast forward with skating ability and a great shot that the Hurricanes really need}

(3)  Will Cullen be traded for younger player, draft choices, or prospects? [see discussion above] CULLEN TRADED FOR ALEXANDRE PICARD AND A SECOND ROUND DRAFT PICK

(4) Will Whitney be traded for younger player, draft choices, or prospects? [see discussion above]  JIM RUTHERFORD HAS INDICATED WHITNEY WILL BE TRADED, BUT LIKELY TO TAKE PLACE AT OR NEAR TRADE DEADLINE -- {the most interesting non-trade was Whitney; and given the play of the team there is sound logic to that approach}


Over all the revamping has occurred with more speed and precision that I would have thought possible.  Now the two key gaps are (1) big, physical, puck moving defenseman who can score on the power play and (2) the freight train power forward who attacks the net with a vengeance and has speed and skating skill -- a bigger, more skilled, pre-injury Erik Cole.  Osala fits the bill to some degree.  It would be fantastic if that player could be a Rick Nash kind of player in terms of over all ability, including scoring ability.


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