The Carolina Hurricanes are on a 3 game winning streak and although it's early, currently find themselves at the top of their division. One might think that everything is hunky-dorey in "Carolinaville". But according to Luke DeCock of the News and Observer, Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford is still considering tweaking the lineup. In a story which was just recently published on October 13th, Rutherford is quoted as saying that he would still like to add an offensive-minded defenseman to the Canes already potent arsenal.
It's not too early to start thinking about it, Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford acknowledged Friday.
"Not necessarily, because basically the defense we have now is the same or equivalent to the defense that we had when we had the good year two years ago," he said. "With that being said, our team would be improved with another defenseman that can move the puck.
"It would help our transition game. It would potentially give us another defenseman for the second unit of the power play."
This article has got the rumor mills churning again, although it's no secret that Rutherford has been trying to acquire a puck-moving defenseman all summer. Supposedly one deal was in place, only to have Nic Wallin nix it by exercising the "no movement" clause in his contract. But apparently, that hasn't stopped the Canes GM from continuing his quest, although his options seem somewhat limited. Who could he trade in order to upgrade the defense? I think that most of the team should be considered off the trading block. Some of the team's best options to be traded have no trade clauses and would probably reject any trade. So what is a poor general manager to do if he wants to make a deal? One option available is Andrew Ladd. While personally I would hate to see Andrew traded, it would surprise me if his name wasn't brought up in discussions with possible trade partners. If Christian Ehrhoff is a possible target from the Sharks, who else of near equal value do the Canes have to offer? (I would keep Ladd over Ehrhoff myself). Joni Pitkanen is supposedly another target. If Ladd really is possible trade fodder, the acquisition target should be someone of equal contract value, RFA status, and talent level. If I was shopping for a puck moving defenseman, John-Michael Liles of the Avs and Brent Seabrook of the Blackhawks would be on my short list. In my opinion, there are not many young players in the league with the potential of Andrew Ladd. Besides, this team seems to have bad luck choosing offensive minded defensemen. (remember Oleg Tverdovsky and Sandis Ozolinsh). Maybe we are better off to keep the stay at home guys?
Some of the other possible targets that DeCock bantered about were Rob Blake, Brad Stuart, and Brent Sopel. Any of these defensemen could probably be acquired later in the season in the same way that the Canes were able to pick up Doug Weight and Mark Recchi. But would the Canes want to relinquish more draft picks and prospects for a short term bolster of the blue line? That all depends upon how the team is doing in a couple of months as the trade deadline approaches. Also, future injuries could dictate the team's needs 2 months from now. Rutherford admits that there is no immediate need, but it's something that management is thinking about and seems to be wishing for.