With the buyout/retirement of Rod Brind'Amour, and the fact that Samsonov was not bought out, the lull before the storm is pretty intense. Then with the apparent impending departure of Ray Whitney, the forward lines are going to be interesting. Upon the sage advice of HMof2, I will wait to reconstruct line variations. I had assumed Samsonov would be traded or bought out; but statistically, Samsonov is at his best during contract years. Samsonov at his best is still impressive, even if the Hurricanes coaches want all their forwards to bring physicality to their games. The third line center position is still up in the air; but I am guessing the Hurricanes believe either Dalpe, Skinner, Dwyer, or Matsumoto or even Nash if he forgoes his senior year can work well at that position.
On the defensive side of things, the situation with Carson and Picard is still puzzling to a degree. Certainly as far as numbers go, it is possible to cobble together the funds for the Hurricanes to make a splash with a defenseman. It is not necessarily Jim Rutherford's style, but the Glen Wesley trade stands out as an example of Jim Rutherford thinking outside the box. To me, an offer sheet to Marc Staal creates the greatest improvement without loss of prospects. As Cory points out, however, offer sheets are viewed very disfavorably by other GMs; but perhaps a trade rather than a offer sheet would yield the same results. My guess is that Carson dips his toes into the UFA waters, decides the water is very cold and treacherous, and re-signs with Carolina. Picard should do the same thing before he becomes another one of those one-half season NHL defensemen wonders who are vagabonds their entire career.