I attended the annual Hurricanes Media Golf Tournament today and picked up a lot of information to share. First up, we learned that Joni Pitkanen has not recovered yet from last season's heel injury and according to his agent, he cannot put weight on his heel.
The defenseman has not yet skated this summer and will have a CT on his foot when he gets to town on Thursday so that the medical staff can make a determination on his status. This is certainly not good news for Carolina.
Jim Rutherford said that the team would keep all options open, but might not necessarily look to bring in a replacement.
"People have a lot of views about Joni but the fact of the matter is he played a lot of minutes. You take a guy out of the lineup that played that many minutes, you really have to look at your defense. What Kirk may have to do is balance it out more."
Rutherford went on a bit more to explain how the Carolina coach might spread out the minutes between the other defensemen. The GM also said that the injury was a serious one.
"It's a serious injury, where he got hurt. At the time after he had the operation the doctor said this is more like a car-accident impact than a sports injury. When he said that you knew there was pretty good damage."
I asked Rutherford if there was any salary cap relief if Pitkanen could not play for an extended period of time.
"Yes, there is some salary cap relief after a certain period of time, and insurance would pay for a portion of the salary as well, for actual cash relief. But at this point I am not sure exactly when that would kick in."
The team will find out more after tests are concluded on Thursday, but it does not sound like the Finn will be ready for training camp in a couple of weeks.
The GM informed the media that rookie Elias Lindholm was not yet 100% recovered from the shoulder injury he got during development camp.
Rutherford mentioned that it was not serious, it was a deep bruise, but it was not yet healed. Lindholm will still make the trip to Traverse City, but will not play in all the games. They will be watching him very closely because of course they want him 100% healthy for training camp.
Rutherford also confirmed that Radek Dvorak would get a tryout at training camp. Kirk Muller had played with Dvorak before, has spoken with him recently, and called him a "character guy". The coach went on:
He can kill penalties and can contribute on offense. He could be a real good pickup for us.
Dvorak most recently played for the Anaheim Ducks last season and scored four goals in nine games. He did not sign with Anaheim until March 24, 2013.
The season before that, he played 73 games with Dallas and scored 4G 17A.
Muller also has had a couple of conversations with another former teammate, Brenden Morrow.
I spoke to him about what our team was about, to see if we might be a match for him. He has a couple of other opportunities out there and looks to be waiting until the last minute to make a decision.
Once again when asked, Jim Rutherford said he was keeping all options open as Morrow's name came up as did Ron Hainsey's.