The Tim Gleason signing seems like a good one for both parties. Obviously, the blue-liner deserved a raise (he made $1,175,000 last year.) The new cap hit will be 2.75M for the next 4 years, which certainly won't break the Hurricanes budget.
I think that Nashville's signing of Ryan Suter a couple of days ago, helped to set the bar for this one. Suter got 14M over 4 years and has somewhat better stats than Gleason does. It makes sense to me that the Carolina defenseman would be in the 10-12M range for the same time period.
The blueline is starting to take shape now as Nic Wallin, Joe Corvo, Frank Kaberle, and now Gleason are all under contract. That leaves two more openings.
(David Tanabe is also under contract but has questionable health status). Of course Casey Borer and Noah Babin could also be in the mix, but they have limited NHL experience. Will Dennis Seidenberg join the party or does Jim Rutherford have other plans?
The Carolina 4rth line possibly got a bit tougher with the acquisition to the "rights to speak" to Darcy Hordichuk. Color me confused on this one.
I don't question the idea of wanting to sign Hordichuk and I have no reason to think that he wouldn't fit like a glove in the dressingroom. He has the reputation of hitting everything and anything that moves on the ice and is a decent pugilist.
What confuses me is why the organization traded away a 5th round pick, just to acquire his rights for 10 days. He will be a free agent on July 1st, why not wait to sign him then?
Of course, I have failed to grasp the concept of trading picks for negotiation rights since teams started doing it last year. Nashville and Philadelphia tested the waters back then when the Flyers signed Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell.
A few days ago, Tampa Bay did a similar thing when they traded a 7th round pick and a conditional 4rth rounder for the rights to Vaclav Prospal. I was going to mention in a subsequent post about how ridiculous I thought that was.
Is Prospal so good that the Lightning didn't think they would have a chance to negotiate with him after July 1st? Would Vinnie's value be driven up significantly in a competitive setting?
The Hordichuk situation is even more puzzling. Darcy has been on 4 different teams and has scored 13 career goals in over 300 NHL games. During the past 2 years, he has scored just 2 goals in 98 games. These aren't stats that can't be found elsewhere on the first day of free agency, and for a reasonable price.
The Canes have insurance if they can't sign Hordichuk, as they will get their 5th round pick back in 2010 if he doesn't sign. But why waste the 5th rounder?
Some of you might be saying, "Bubba, what's the big deal? It's just a 5th round draft pick!" To that I would say, look at the Red Wings lineup, and the number of late round draftees. They can make a difference.
They can especially make a difference if your organization is ranked 30th in the NHL regarding prospect depth, and according to Hockey's Future, the Hurricanes are dead last in that department.
The Hurricanes traded away several draft picks when they acquired Doug Weight and Mark Recchi for the stretch run in 2006. Obviously, the price was well worth it. But at some point if the franchise wants to rebuild it's farm system, they need to stop trading draft picks.
Especially when it seems needless, like in this case.
But I will be the first to admit that I don't understand every nuance in the game, especially regarding the front office. Perhaps Jim Rutherford and company saw something special in Hordichuk and they didn't want to take the chance that he would sign elsewhere.
JR said that he wanted to toughen up the 4rth line and make it bigger. It seems like that is exactly what he means to do.
A Canes Country reader, Marc, informed us about Hordichuk's website and it is an awesome one, complete with fight video footage. If nothing else, he should be fun to watch if the Canes can sign him.