With yesterday's announced recall of rookie defenseman, Justin Faulk, the Carolina Hurricanes started some tongue wagging among their faithful following. Carolina management has made no secret that they love Faulk's game, to the point that Jim Rutherford called him a "top four defenseman" when asked if he made the team out of training camp.
But the Canes are in a bit of a quandary. They now have eight defensemen on the roster and no room for Faulk to play. (He is supposed to sit out tonight.) That leads many to believe that there might be a deal in the works sooner rather than later on Tobacco Road.
Yesterday during a fan luncheon, Rutherford reportedly verified those suspicions when he said "a top six defenseman" is in play.
So, who will it be? Let's take a look at each defenseman and wonder a bit out loud if they might be on their way out of town.
Joslin has yet to play this season and is not in the top six, so we will eliminate him from this list immediately. Moving him does not make room for Faulk, and while he could be included in a package deal, it's doubtful.
|2011 - Joni Pitkanen||8||2||4||6||-4||4||1||0||1||16|
The Finn is currently the most valuable commodity the Canes have on the back end. He plays in all situations and leads the team in average time on ice by over three minutes a game to his closest teammate, (24:37 to 21:37). He could bring back the biggest return, but does the team improve with him gone?
He's in the first year of a three year deal and his cap hit is $4.5 million, which many feel is a bargain.
|2011 - Tim Gleason||8||0||3||3||6||7||0||0||0||3|
Gleason has been back to his Olympic season form so far this year and is one of the league's leaders in plus/minus. It would be surprising ifl the Canes moved their alternate captain, but he is in the final year of his contract and with a glut of defensemen coming up the pipeline, who knows if he is in the club's long term plans?
He makes $3.5 million this year with a cap hit of $2.75.
|2011 - Tomas Kaberle||8||0||2||2||-5||0||0||0||0||16|
The newly signed Kaberle seems to be a target among fans who were hoping for more from this former All Star. He has looked good on the powerplay and does make a nice first pass out of his own end, but it seems that he's yet to find a comfort zone playing defense. He's probably on many fan's wishlist to be traded, but did Rutherford sign him for too much for too long? Is he untradable?
He is in the first year of a three year deal which has a cap hit of $4.25 million.
|2011 - Bryan Allen||8||0||2||2||4||8||0||0||0||4|
Allen has turned into a bit of a fan favorite because he brings a much needed edge to the blueline. He leads the team in shots blocked and is among the league leaders in that stat as well. It would be tough for many to see him go, but he does have value and is also in the final year of his deal which pays him $3.15 million this year.
(Note: He has a no-trade clause which he did not exercise when he approved the deal to come to Carolina last year. Under his current contract, he would have to approve a future deal as well.)
|2011 - Jamie McBain||5||0||2||2||1||0||0||0||0||10|
Jamie McBain has potential written all over him. He was originally benched after training camp, but has stepped in nicely when Faulk was moved down to the AHL. He had a very strong end of year last season, which could be a picture of his future. Would the Canes be willing to let him go, just at the stage of his development which could start paying dividends?
He's in the final year of his entry level deal which has a cap hit of $850,000.
|2011 - Jay Harrison||8||1||1||2||-2||9||0||0||0||10|
Harrison is probably the most improved Hurricane and just continues to work hard and get better and better. He's even worked his way into the powerplay. It's questionable if he has much value outside of Carolina, but one never knows.
He's in the first year of a two year deal which has a cap hit of $700,000.
So who do you think could be on their way out of town? You have to give up quality to get quality, so a lot depends upon what the Canes want in return.
Could the team be searching for a top level forward to play with Eric Staal? There have been multiple line shuffles this season, and Staal has yet to find a comfort zone. If the Canes want a high level player coming back, one of the high level guys will have to be moved, including a prospect or two.
Later, we'll take a look at who the Canes might be targeting for acquisition.