Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford was on 999 The Fan this afternoon and was asked about the potential signing of the "top" free agent he teased local media about last week. Rutherford said that he was still trying to bring that free agent into the fold and the player was still willing to take a one-year deal because he liked the team and wanted to play here.
"We have to move someone out in order to bring in this player," Rutherford told Adam Gold and Joe Ovies. "The player is waiting patiently as we try to get this done."
So, who is the player Carolina is interested in, and who might be on their way out?
Rutherford would not name names, but there has been much talk about the franchise being interested in Jaromir Jagr. Unsubstantiated rumors have sprung up from many sources and Puck Daddy had an article today stating that a Czech publication identified Carolina as one of four teams interested.
There has been some talk about Jagr fitting in with Montreal because of Tomas Plekanec, who was a linemate in the KHL, but remember that Jiri Tlusty was also a part of that unstoppable line. Would Jagr want to team up again with Tlusty?
Jagr still has some gas in the tank and chipped in with 10 assists in 22 playoff games for the Bruins. The winger also had 2G and 7A in 11 regular season games for Boston. Before that, he scored 14G and 12A in 34 games for the Dallas Stars.
There are other forwards available who could be considered "top" end talent, but are they at the stage in their careers when they would accept a one-year deal?
Former Stars captain Brenden Morrow might and he is still out there, as well as Daniel Cleary. Teemu Selanne is another possibility but it is assumed he would re-up with the Ducks if he returns. Other higher end free agents, like Dustin Penner, Mikhail Grabovski, and Mason Raymond would probably want a longer term than one year in a new contract.
The next question is, who is the player that the Canes are trying to move out? They have already said that they will not have any buyouts, so they must be trying to make a trade in order to create cap space.
If you look at the roster, it is not easy to guess who this might be. Would they try to move out a younger asset in order to make room for a one-year deal for an older player?
You can listen to the interview here.