It's been a wild couple of weeks for the Carolina Hurricanes.
First of all, the organization was able to re-sign Jussi Jokinen, Joni Pitkanen, and Chad LaRose, three players who were supposedly headed for free agency.
Then the club's "priority" signing of the offseason, Erik Cole, ended up moving on to Montreal.
The Canes then moved on themselves and made a few free agent signings of their own in Alexei Ponikarovsky, Tim Brent, and Anthony Stewart. But perhaps the most surprising event of the offseason for the Canes was when Joe Corvo asked to be traded.
It was no secret that Cole and Corvo were best buddies and did everything together, but did Cole's leaving affect Corvo's decision?
The timing of the request certainly was strange as Jim Rutherford said that Corvo's agent made the "soft request" on the weekend immediately after Cole's signing, which was on a Friday afternoon.
After the fact, both players provided similar quotes. At this stage in their careers they wanted a better chance to win, yadda yadda, yadda yadda.
But let's get real for a second here. Cole may have had a secret desire to someday play for his favorite childhood team, but the winger primarily left Carolina because of the money. If Carolina, Florida, or even Winnipeg had offered $18 million and not Montreal, Cole would most likely be singing their praises and would probably be just as happy.
But why did Corvo, after signing on with the Hurricanes just last summer, (with a hometown discount), suddenly feel like he needed to move on? Did the Hurricanes change personnel that much over the course of one year?
Considering the money, Cole made a wise business decision, but what about Corvo and his trade request? Was that also a wise move?
There is no question that the defenseman had a comfort level in Carolina and unlike a couple of his previous stops, was well liked by fans. He played a career high average minutes per game last season, (24:48) and scoring wise, arguably had the best years of his career while in Carolina.
He already requested a trade earlier in his career because of excess scrutiny in Ottawa, where he earned the nickname, "Uh Oh, Corvo" and things did not go well for him during a short stint with the Washington Capitals. Will he suddenly thrive under the bright lights of Boston?
Corvo only had one year left on his contract and even if he didn't see himself in Carolina's long term plans, it might have made better financial sense for him to continue playing top pairing minutes where he was comfortable, so he could drive up his market value and maximize his return for new contract negotiations next summer.
With his request for a trade, he took a calculated risk. Now he will see a lesser role in Boston, get fewer average minutes playing time, and could very well end up receiving lower free agent offers next summer.
Time will tell how the move will work out for him.
Carolina Budget Concerns Costing the Team Assets?
Speaking of the Corvo trade, several fans have been questioning why the Hurricanes only received a fourth round pick for the blueliner. This is the same player that Carolina was able to get a second rounder, a prospect, (Oskar Osala), and a roster player, (Brian Pothier) for just over a year ago at the trade deadline.
Of course, timing is everything. There is not as much of a premium on players during the offseason as there is at trade deadline, but still, a fourth rounder coming back is not much value.
EJ Hradek recently asked Jim Rutherford about this very thing.
The general manager responded that the team could not afford to keep both Corvo and Tomas Kaberle on the roster.
"Through his representative, he (Corvo) already had requested to be traded, so we had something in motion and we thought it best to act on it. There's no guarantee we'd have been able to move him when we needed to before the season started," said the GM.
Hradek went on to say that he didn't think there would be any trouble trading Corvo at a later date, but apparently Rutherford didn't think the same way. In any event, it seems like the pressures of keeping within the budget might have cost Carolina the chance at a better asset. The GM made the deal he had in hand, rather than try to make a better deal, even though he had two months to do so.
Such is one of the hazards of dealing with an apparent, strict budget.
Another recent deal?
The Devils got a 5th round draft pick from Calgary in exchange for a tough guy winger, (Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond) who played two games last season and who has just 37 career NHL games under his belt.
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