Now that the Captain of the Hurricanes is out for the duration, some fans are ready to throw in the towel on this already frustrating season. Conventional wisdom would agree with them. How can Carolina possibly make it to the playoffs now, without their leading scorer and team leader?
Jim Rutherford says that he hasn't given up yet. According to Lord Stanley's Blog, management will be looking to get another warm body in here, sooner rather than later. In all practicality, they have to. Currently on the roster there are only 3 centers, Eric Staal, Trevor Letowski, and Keith Aucoin.
So what are the options? They need to bring up another center from Albany for the short-term. Nic Blanchard or Bobby Hughes could be possibilities.
There are a few things that they won't do. Even though they have been talking to Brandon Sutter about coming to the big club after the junior season is finished, they certainly won't rush that along because of this current need. If Sutter plays more than 10 games this season, then it would count as a full year against the total allowed in his restricted free agency period. One less year of RFA status could end up costing the Canes millions in future negotiations, so coming here early will not an option.
I also would not look for a major, blockbuster type of move. The Canes really can't afford all of the draft picks and prospects that an acquisition of stature would require. I'd look for them to pick up someone for a lower range draft pick, say a 3rd or 4rth rounder.
Some names that have been kicked around include, Michael Peca, Sergei Fedorov, Jarret Stoll, or Yanic Perrault.
If last night's game is any indication, it doesn't appear like the team has given up. If anything, it has driven them to new heights. Can they keep it up?
It certainly will be interesting to see what happens now and who the next new Hurricane will be. What do you think?