It's been two months and change since the end of the season for the Carolina Hurricanes and the team has yet to re-sign a single one of their unrestricted free agents. While Jim Rutherford previously mentioned that he thought it would be tough to bring back Joni Pitkanen and Jussi Jokinen, the GM felt like the team could come to terms with Erik Cole, Chad LaRose, and Cory Stillman.
Offers have been tendered to each of those players, but nothing has been finalized yet.
Apparently, the lack of success in re-signing those UFA's has the GM looking elsewhere. According to an article on CH.com by Paul Branecky today, the GM is close to pulling the trigger on a trade.
While cautioning that he won’t close the door on any player, that has General Manager Jim Rutherford exploring options to replace the two Finns, with a trade for a power-play quarterback who can play among the top four defensemen – an immediate Pitkanen substitute - potentially quite close to completion.
"We’re talking about a couple of trades, as that may be the way we have to go where we know what contracts are going to be for next season," he said. "We’re exchanging ideas, and something could happen any time.
It sounds like the GM won't be waiting around for Joni Pitkanen to compare contract offers after July 1.
Branecky goes on to say that if the organization does make a trade, the team's strong stable of prospects and draft picks are in play.
If trades do occur, Rutherford said that the team could use some of its younger prospects waiting in the system as well as draft picks. While this year’s first-round pick will not be involved in deals, other picks might, including the team’s extra second-round pick in 2012 that came over in a trade for Ian White.
"We’re in a strong position now," said Rutherford.
When valuating Cole and LaRose, the GM is prudently looking at the complete picture, not just a "snapshot" of their careers. Both players have positives and negatives when looking at the past two years.
A question for our readers. If the Hurricanes are close to bringing in a "powerplay quarterback" who can play in the top four, who do you think the candidate might be? Who will the Canes send the other way?
Will John-Michael Liles finally make his way to Carolina? He has one more year left on his contract that will pay him $4.55 million this coming season.