RALEIGH NC - JANUARY 29: Brad Richards #91 of the Dallas Stars is introduced during the Honda NHL SuperSkills competition part of 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend at the RBC Center on January 29 2011 in Raleigh, North Carolina. One report said that Richards named the Hurricanes as a team he'd like to play for. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Last week, the Carolina Hurricanes traded Ian White to the San Jose Sharks for a second round draft pick, (in 2012), and by most accounts, picked up a very good prospect in Derek Joslin. But the young defenseman is still a work in process and can't be expected to solve the Hurricanes present problems on the blueline.
While the Carolina organization is happy with Brett Carson's development and ability to fill in, one could make a valid argument that the Canes defense took a step backward when they traded away White and replaced him with Carson/Joslin.
That's not to say that White wasn't expendable. He had zero goals and 10 assists in 39 games with Carolina. But the Hurricanes do need to give Cam Ward some type of help keeping pucks out of the net and White was usually pretty solid in his own end and didn't seem to make many glaring mistakes. (He was plus+4 in his time here.)
While the Canes are 10th in the league in scoring, averaging 2.83 goals per game, they are 24th in the league in goals allowed, (3.0). They are also tied for 28th, and are just a fraction from being last in the league, as they allow 33.5 shots on goal per game.
Cam Ward has faced more shots and made more saves than any other goalie in the league, (by over 100). The trades that the Canes made last week most likely won't help to improve those stats.
Is something else in the works?
The loss of White certainly means that the Canes can't afford to trade Joni Pitkanen as well, unless a big time player comes back in return.
Perhaps the Hurricanes are looking to do something else, but who is still out there that could help?
The Senators, Avs, Blues, Panthers, Oilers, and Leafs all seem to be in fire-sale mode. The Hurricanes need someone who can block a lot of shots and clear the front of the net.
Chris Phillips would be a good pick up, but he wants to stay in Ottawa. Radek Martinek has a lot of blocked shots on the Island and could come cheap. Jan Hejda would be another good choice in Columbus. The 6'3 vet takes up a lot of space and has 110 hits and 107 blocked shots. That number of blocks would lead the Carolina blueline.
Jim Vandermeer out of Edmonton might be another possibility.
But then again, why give up White for a second rounder when you would have to give up that same second rounder for an equal or lesser replacement to take his spot? There does not seem to be one single player available who would provide a magic fix for the defense.
The Canes could also bring in a forward. Would it shock anyone if Cory Stillman was a target? We all know that Jim Rutherford likes to deal with familiarity and the Canes would not have to give up the farm to acquire him. He's in the final year of his deal which pays him about $3.5 million this season.
Stillman has many "Ray Whitney like" qualities. He makes others around him better, he is very crafty and intelligent on the ice, and probably would upgrade the powerplay. But he is not getting any younger. He's not a physical player and is certainly not the fastest skater in the league.
For those of you who like to dream big, there was a report out of Toronto which indicated that Brad Richards listed Carolina as one of the places he would like to play. (glove tap to Jussi Juice for the link)
I'm not sure how the Canes could structure another huge contract, not so much for one year or two, but another long term deal, the type Richards would most likely demand. Richards is suffering from concussion symtoms at the moment, but is listed on THN's Top 10 players most likely to be traded.
So what do you think? Are the Canes done, or does Jim Rutherford have another trick up his sleeve?