It seems that it is perhaps a good time to really take a broad look at some hints we have been given and ask ourselves what do we think is happening behind the scenes. Why? Because something is happening for sure and perhaps bigger changes are on the way. It would be useful to have a better understanding now of the possibilities. When JR pulls the trigger or triggers these discussions might help us make more sense of it. What he did not do is perhaps as important as what he actually did. I hope this is helpful.
I have tried to list recent things/events from the last 10-12 days or so. This is likely not all possible things but it is a start. I tried to be all inclusive but add other things you believe are hints as you see them in your posts. Here are some things I think are hints about the Hurricanes future if taken by themselves might not mean much but if looked at together project a different view. Here are those hints:
1. Maurice fired, Muller hired and has a 3 year contract beyond this year. JR said this was a clear signal that he did not like this season and it was easier to replace a coach than players. He also has committed to a 3-year contract to get change done.
2. JR said at the time of hiring Muller that he also looked at trade options for a forward but there were none that made sense to him.
3. JR has publicly criticized the whole team as one made up of players who did not have the desire to win;
4. JR publicly criticized Kaberla and suggested “He got off to a slow start, totally by his own doing, and now he's gonna have to figure out a way to get out of it or he won't be playing with the Hurricanes for long.";
5. JR publicly confirmed he was actively looking for a top 4 winger and also a top 6 winger; then picked up winger Nodle off waivers;
6. JR publicly confirmed he wanted to trade a defenseman in the next month or so, perhaps sooner;
8. ESPN and other outlets confirmed that JR offered Columbus Kaberla and a 2nd rounder in 2012 for Derrick Bressard a center, but was turned down.
9. TSN’s Bob McKenzie recently reported that he now believes JR might be willing to “listen” to any trade involving Staal or Ward. (Sort of like the Ryan/Ducks thing recently, not shopping only listening)
Interesting list above, please add to it if there are things important that I missed. Here are some other factors which may be important.
A. The Canes are very near the bottom of the NHL standings which will be reflected in their order of draft for new players.
B. The needed effort by the Canes to make the 2012 playoffs likely makes the playoffs an incredible remote possibility. Someone said that the effort would have to exceed the NJ Devils effort in the second half of last year which was then considered a record breaker. Still, in spite of that great effort, the Devils did not make the playoffs.
C. Staal and Ward both have NTC and 3 and 4 years left on their contracts and together have a cap hit of about $14.5MM.
D. Muller has changed the way the Canes play to a very up-tempo tight offensive game from the stifling, defense first game that was suppose to generate offense under Maurice.
E. With NHL realignment there are now trade partners that the Canes can conduct business (Winnipeg, Florida and Tampa) and some they cannot because they are in the new conference (see Conference D list)
F. There are new minority owners of the franchise and somewhere close to $20 million dollars of new investment may be made within the next 6-12 months with a little over $20MM already committed now.
When you add up all the things above your imagination can go wild. But here are the questions which might help you focus more on the hints. General comments on all of this can also be extremely helpful. Here are some questions:
a. What is JR up too right now and how does that effect this current team and the team next year?
b. Has JR decided to conduct a full rebuild of the Hurricanes Roster?
c. If the answer to b is yes which are core players the Hurricanes will not trade?
d. If the answer to b is yes what will be the reaction of gate paying fans to this rebuild?
e. Will new investment money be used for this rebuild or roster adjustments?
f. What can be done by JR to remain competitive in this new Conference D?