I get lots of mail that is blog related and I try my best to respond to everyone. Sometimes fans will throw out an idea and ask me for my opinion. In an attempt to do something different, I thought I would try to answer some questions right here because they might make for good topics of discussion in our "Notes at Noon" segments.
Today we will answer an email from Brentt.
I would like to get your opinion on this...what direction will the Canes be going to fill a spot left by Cole? Now, I know they've signed a couple players to possibly fill that spot, and the Hurricanes do have a couple prospects to bring up to the team next year. But, I'm wondering if they could get better. The two players that have caught my eye that are available, or possibly available, are RW Antti Miettinen and restricted FA RW Ryan Callahan of the Rangers. Could it possibly be perceived that the Canes would make an offer for either one of those forwards?? Getting Callahan would be a great pick up, but getting Miettinen may not be a bad idea either.
Anyway, thanks for your articles and your consideration. I hope to get your feedback on this email.
To start off with the first question, I think the Canes are hoping that they can replace Erik Cole "by committee" at this point in time. If Alexei Ponikarovsky regains his scoring touch, he could help to replace the points. But he does not have the game breaking speed that Cole possesses and he won't be able to open up the ice like Cole did on the rush.
Anthony Stewart has decent speed and might develop into a Cole type of player soon, but at this point in his career, I don't think fans can count on him to replace most facets of Cole's game this coming season. Maybe he will in the future.
So the Canes will probably need to replace Cole's points from multiple sources and his hits from a couple of sources as well.
Regarding Antti Miettinen, there was a recent report out that he signed a contract with a team in the KHL, but even if he was available, I personally don't see him as a viable replacement for Cole.
|2010 - Antti Miettinen||73||16||19||35||-3||38||8||0||4||168|
While he is still a productive player, his points are down from where they used to be and they seem to be in a downward trend. He had about half the hits that Cole provided, (109 versus 225), and is not as physical a player, overall. He is also lacking top notch speed.
I think the Canes are probably better off to pass on the Finn.
But Ryan Callahan? Any GM in the league would love to have him on their team.
|2010 - Ryan Callahan||60||23||25||48||-7||46||10||0||5||179|
While a little bit smaller of a player than Cole, physically, Callahan plays big and had 224 hits in just 60 games last season. He could also replace Cole's points and is a heart and soul type of player who does all the little things well.
The bad news? As mentioned in Brentt's question, Callahan is a restricted free agent, meaning that the Rangers still hold his rights even though he is still unsigned at the moment.
Carolina could try to make a trade for him or they could submit an offer sheet to him, which is a complicated process. The bottom line is, I doubt the Rangers would let him go. The Canes would have to over-pay in a trade scenario and the Rangers would probably match any offer sheet that the Canes would be willing to put together, making the whole effort futile.
Another unsigned restricted free agent and a similar player, Brandon Dubinsky, is in the same predicament.
|2010 - Brandon Dubinsky||77||24||30||54||-3||100||4||2||2||202|
Dubinsky is a restricted free agent and he needs a new contract. But once again, the Blueshirts would probably match any realistic offer sheet.
The Rangers have to sign several players to complete their roster, but according to Cap Geek, they have plenty of room, (almost $13 million) to do so. I believe that they would let other players walk, (Prospal and Frolov), before they pass on those two RFA's.
Speaking of the Rangers, it is rumored that they have been shopping Wojtek Wolski, another young player with potential, but Wolski is scheduled to make $3.8 million this season which is going to scare off most teams.
|2010 - Wojtek Wolski||73||12||23||35||6||18||1||0||1||135|
Things can change on a daily basis, but right now I think it would be futile to try to obtain Callahan or Dubinsky, although either player would be a great acquisition if you could get them at a reasonable cost.
((UPDATE)) Both Callahan and Dubinski have filed for salary arbitration. I'm told that no offer sheets can be submitted to these players during this process.
Anyone else have an opinion?