Just some random thoughts about the roster and the looming trade deadline. Let me know what you think!
-Glad to see Jim Rutherford learning from his mistakes. Signing Gleason and working with Ruutu hopefully spell the end of his stubborn "no in-season negotiation" policy. I think his statements regarding Ruutu are sincere, but they certainly don't hurt with posturing in the event that they can't work out a deal. In the end Rutherford seems intent on not ending up with nothing, which again, is indicative of a lesson learned with Cole. It's been tough seeing his off-season moves bust, but kudos for the way he has owned and rectified those mistakes. In my mind he is still one of the best in the business.
-Tuomo Ruutu will be re-signed. Just my gut, but I feel strongly it will happen. I just hope it's for the right money. I would have a hard time swallowing a deal much more than 4.5 million per year or over 4 years in length. His durability the last few years has allowed him to shed the "injury-prone" tag but his aggressive style will certainly limit his shelf life. If he is resigned I would hope for more offensive production. Ideal scenario for me would be a 4 year, 20million dollar deal with Ruutu on the 2nd line potting 25 goal and 30-35 assists. He certainly has the skill and the drive. Should he not get signed, I can easily see LA giving up a 1st and a top prospect.
-Spacek and Allen will surely be traded, and I think the return for either could be greater than people think. I read somewhere that Allen could be that type of "We just traded for WHO?" type player that ends up being the final, important piece for a championship team. I agree. And Spacek, with his playoff experience, could easily end up fetching a 2nd and 3rd/4th round pick from a Pittsburgh or Chicago. Allen could, from a team like Boston or Philly, easily grab a 1st rounder or a top prospect.
-The speculation is fun, but with the deadline in general and the Canes in particular I have learned to expect the unexpected. I'm not a salary cap expert, but I feel like we could trade Allen, Spacek, and Ruutu (if need be) without taking back salary and still be above the cap floor on deadline day. That being said, other than UFAs, I expect the activity to be light and the returns to be picks and prospects. The draft is when the real dealing will happen. I think we will go in with a boatload of assets and come away with some great additions, both NHL-ready and prospects for the system.