Monday Thoughts: The Draft, RFA's, And What's Next

Will Haydn Fleury become a franchise player for Carolina? - Bruce Bennett

Fleury could be franchise defenseman in years to come - RFA decisions to be made today

As you look around the internet, you don't see too much excitement about the draft selections of the Carolina Hurricanes.  There have been grades of "B" and "C", even though it will be years before anyone knows for sure how these players will turn out.

The Canes certainly didn't make a glamorous pick with their number one selection as some Caniacs might have wanted, but Haydn Fleury could be the franchise defenseman this club has needed since the move to Carolina.  Still just 17, (he turns 18 on July 8), Fleury still has some growing to do and could end up taller than his present listing of 6'3.

Fleury could be the type of defensemen that is too expensive for a small-market team to acquire in free agency.  You either draft and develop them, or go without.

The Canes needed another goalie in the system and why not go with the OHL goalie of the year in Alex Nedeljkovic?

The third round pick of Warren Foegele could be a sleeper, especially if he continues to grow.  (He supposedly went on a growth spurt last year and is listed at 6'1 now).  He works out with Gary Roberts in the summer and will again this summer, so all looks good on that front.

It's hard to argue about the drafting of Josh Wesley, for many reasons.  There will be a lot of local folk rooting for this kid to succeed.

The other picks will have a chance to develop and make the most of their opportunities.  It will be up to them on how far they will go.

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In other news, the Hurricanes are required to make a decision regarding their restricted free agents today.  Ron Francis said on Saturday that they would qualify Jiri Tlusty and continue to try to sign him, but he would not give the same confidence regarding the other RFA's.

That means Drayson Bowman, Zach Boychuk, and Andrei Loktionov may or may not be retained.  If they are not qualified by the team today, they hit the free agent market tomorrow.

Other lesser known RFA's also needing a decision are: Michal Jordan, Tommi Kivisto, Justin Shugg, Jared Staal, Aaron Palushaj, Rasmus Rissanen, and Kellan Tochkin.

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Francis also said on Saturday that the team would not be bringing back Radek Dvorak and Mike Komisarek, which is not surprising.  Brett Bellemore, Manny Malhotra, and Justin Peters would also be heading to market.

John Forslund said on 620 The Buzz this morning that both the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders were interested in Peters.   I'm sure the Canes want to sign him to a two-way deal, with Cam Ward seemingly, (definitely) returning next season.  Perhaps he will get a one-way deal elsewhere.

I'm not sure what Malhotra thinks he might get, it seems that much more than minimum would be expecting too much, unless he is looking at a specific location to live.  Bellemore on the other hand could be looking for a bigger payday than what Carolina wants to offer and just might get it.

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The Canes will be looking to add a fourth line forward or two when free agency starts tomorrow, as well as a "depth" defenseman, (according to Francis).  I asked the GM about what type of fourth line player he was looking to bring in, (enforcer?), and Francis said they are looking for someone to hopefully contribute on the penalty kill and play some minutes.

Daniel Altshuller will be reporting to Charlotte next season but with Mike Murphy signing in Europe and John Muse's status unknown, (do not see him listed at Cap Geek or on CH.com), they might need another goalie for the Checkers. (Collin Olson's status is also unknown but it appears that he will not be signed.)

We will be watching for and reporting anything new today and will have our annual open thread on free agent day, starting at noon tomorrow.

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