Earlier this afternoon, the Carolina Hurricanes traded forward Sergei Samsonov to the Florida Panthers for gritty defenseman Bryan Allen. Samsonov currently earns $2.8 million, but his contract expires at the end of this season. Allen has one more year left on his deal which will pay him $3.15 million next season.
Samsonov had a pretty good run at Carolina, (10g 16A so far this season), but never really seemed to mesh well with the system currently employed by the Carolina coaching staff. He was shuffled from one line to another and sometimes he played limited minutes while on the fourth line.
Allen, at 6'4, 220, could be the big, strong, stay-at-home defenseman many Carolina fans have coveted. He was one of the pieces acquired by the Panthers when they traded Roberto Luongo to Vancouver and he can play a gritty, physical game when he is healthy.
The defenseman told Jim Rutherford that he is feeling as healthy as he has in awhile. He also said he's very happy to be joining the Canes and waived a "No Movement Clause" in order for the trade to be completed.
Rutherford said that Cory Stillman highly recommended the blueliner, "Not that we will hold it against Stillman if he is wrong", the GM quipped.
At Rutherford's press conference today, he was asked if his outlook on the team had changed from the beginning of the year and the GM answered "yes", it had.
Rutherford admitted that he has transitioned his thinking from purely rebuilding the team, to trying to contend for the Cup this season. His actions in the past couple of days have backed that up as the team acquired two fairly expensive veterans in Stillman and Allen.
After the press conference, I had a brief chance to ask Rutherford if acquiring Allen had any affect on whether or not the organization would re-sign Joni Pitkanen next season.
"No, not at all", he replied. "All the players with expiring contracts this season will be evaluated from now to the end of the season. A decision will be made during the offseason what to do at that time."
Rutherford also added, "Of course if we do well, and go deeply into the postseason, we will be in a much better position to re-sign players. If we don't, then it's a different story."
Rutherford said that the franchise had been considering acquiring Allen since before the Ian White deal. But it was a matter of making the numbers and contracts work.
Earlier in the day, defenseman Brett Carson was picked up by the Calgary Flames off the waiver wire. Rutherford said that they expected Carson not to be claimed and to make it through to Charlotte. They might consider picking him up again later if the opportunity presents itself.
The Flames have to keep Carson on the active roster now if they want to keep him. If they try to re-assign him to the AHL, he would go back on waivers and any team, including the Canes, could pick him up.
Later tonight, we wll have another article reviewing the changes made by the team and what might happen from here.