The Hurricanes already have one new kid in town, defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from Phoenix. The question is, will there be another newbie in town as well anytime soon? According to Jim Rutherford, that's the plan. His quote about Kevyn Adams is very telling. "If we stick to our plan and add another forward prior to the deadline, it would have put him in a position where his role would have diminished even more". Now many of us in the Caniac Nation will be thinking about and wondering who else will be traded and who are the forwards that JR is targeting. As a matter of fact, my fellow blogger Cason at Casonblog has already started to do just that! I agree with some of what he has to say when he wonders just how trade-able some of the Hurricane's assets are, but I disagree with him when he suggests trading Commodore. Mike would be one of our defensemen that I would put on the untouchable list, even though Knuble might be a good target in return.
Carolina seems to have a glut of good skating, puck moving, and offensive minded defensemen. But how many does one team need? Let's look ahead 30 days and assume that there are 10 healthy defensemen. Bret Hedican, Glen Wesley, Nic Wallin, Mike Commodore, Frank Kaberle, Anton Babchuk, and Tim Gleason would probably be the top seven. Tanabe may have played his way in the mix, but at this point Hutchinson and Seidenberg would be the odd men out. I doubt Rutherford would trade either Gleason or Babchuk for a rental player, they have too much upside. If the Canes trade for a rental, (that means someone who is unrestricted after this season and who probably would leave after the playoffs), usually the price is not very high. For instance one year the Canes traded future Hall of Famer Ron Francis to Toronto for a 4rth round pick. Period. That doesn't seem like much, but that is pretty typical. If the Canes are targeting someone younger who is under a reasonable contract, then it's a whole different story. If I was Rutherford, I would have Letowski, Hutchinson, and Tanabe at the top of my "to trade" list. In my opinion, they are most expendable. On the other hand as Cason mentioned, they have very little if any value. Letowski and Hutchinson are both under contract for another year, but are at best role players. Tanabe has been playing very well lately, but he is also a free agent next year and if a team wants him they can just wait and make him an offer then. They don't need to trade anyone for that right. It's an interesting and complex issue and one that Jim Rutherford usually excels at. In a couple of days I'll look at possible targets. Without thinking too much, Mark Recchi would be on my list again, but I'll leave more of that talk for another time. There's a hockey game tonight to talk about!
Tonight the Florida Panthers are in town for another "Southeast Division Showdown", as our marketing department loves to call our division matchups. The Panthers won last night as they beat the Pens, 5-2. They should be a tired team and we should be rested, but that doesn't always guarantee a win. The Panthers usually don't fare well in Raleigh. According to the paper this morning, they haven't won here since 2002. Auld was in net last night for them, will Martin stick with the "hot" goalie or switch to Eddie the Eagle? Ollie Jokinen had a hat-trick last night so let's hope the boys keep him off the scoreboard tonight. Cam Ward has started 6 straight games for the Canes. He has played very well, but one must wonder how effective Grahame can possibly be if he doesn't have a chance to play very often. Oh well, I still think you go with the goalie who gives you the best chance to win. That is Ward. The rest of the lineup will stay the same as it was in Toronto. Staal has a 2 game goal streak. Ray Whitney now leads the team with 48 points. Brindy is right behind with 47. Hopefully the guys will stay hungry for a win and won't look ahead to the big Thrashers game on Saturday night. I'll post an update later this afternoon if there is anything new to report. Go Canes!!