Jim Rutherford did it again! Not only did he sign the bulk of the team in record time, by early July, he signed everyone at reasonable salaries and most at multi-year contracts. He's well under his self imposed budget of 40 million which leaves him room for sensible acquisitions later in the offseason or after the season begins. Besides all of that, he also undertook of signing arguably the best coach in the NHL to a 5 year contract and completed this all in about 2 to 3 weeks! While many other teams are still scrambling trying to find players or trying to rearrange numbers to stay under the cap, Jim can take a few weeks off now and enjoy his executive of the year honors and savor being GM of the World Champions.
Some positive things for Caniacs to consider: The players like it here and seem to want to stay. Budding superstars like Erik Cole, Eric Staal, and Justin Williams could have all played hardball and filed for arbitration to test the market value for themselves like several other players did, (12 from Buffalo alone). Rutherford would have been virtually forced to match whatever an arbitrator awarded them. Instead they chose the security of multi-year deals while making reasonable amounts of money. Captain Rod Brind'Amour signed a 5 year deal virtually assuring his retirement in Raleigh where he is loved and cherished. I give credit to these players who could have been greedy and looked after themselves a bit more and maybe could have made more money, but instead did what was best for the team as well as what was fair for themselves. I also give credit to owner Peter Karmanos. After finally succeeding in his lifelong quest to win the Cup, he could have sat back on his profits from last year, tightened the purse strings, and refused to take the chance of getting back into the high budgets and losses of years past. Instead he aggressively increased his budget from last year by 12 million, (from 28 million to 40 million) and seems perfectly willing to test this market again and see if he can capitalize on the success from last year's championship. As a Hurricanes fan, this pleases me very much because it shows a bonifide commitment to this market, franchise, team, and fanbase.
Below is the listing of players and their contracts (as related to the Cap) and where the Canes stand with their budget. My figures have us at about 38 million, just 2 million shy of our budget of 40 million and 6 million short of the regulated salary cap of 44 million. We could still sign a winger, we could make a trade, or we could stand pat until the season starts. It's nice to have the flexibility and still have the core of our offense and defense of last year's great team!