Of course nothing is set in stone until July 1st when "free agent frenzy" officially begins, but it's been reported in several circles that the St. Louis Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins will not be re-signing Barret Jackman and Christian Ehrhoff.
Jackman and Ehrhoff are different defensemen who bring different attributes to the game but both would fill current needs for the Hurricanes.
With the departure of Tim Gleason and Andrej Sekera at the trade deadline last season, there has been talk of bringing back both defensemen for the next campaign or at the least needing to fill their previous roles.
While Gleason would most likely return to the Canes at a reasonable cost, Sekera is a different story. He will be looked upon as being one of the most sought after free agents on the market, that is if the Kings don't re-sign him themselves, which they are trying to do.
But could Jackman fill the "stay at home" defenseman role better than Gleason and Ehrhoff the "puck-moving" role better than or equal to Sekera?
Barret Jackman has been a St. Louis Blue his entire 14 year career. It's been said he bleeds blue. He's a bit slower than he used to be but he still is a strong presence in the back end. Never known for his offense, he can clear the crease with the best of them and should be useful on the penalty kill.
He's coming off a cap hit of over $3 million per year so would need to take a pay cut and it would have to be a short term deal, but he might fit. Gleason signed for $1.2 million last year and might agree to be close to that range again.
The two blueliners had similar stats last season. Gleason had more hits, (167 to 108) but Jackman more blocked shots, (126-108). (Gleason's stats are totaled from his time with both Carolina and Washington.) Both players averaged about 16 minutes a game of average TOI.
Unlike Jackman who stayed in one place his entire career, Ehrhoff has been around a bit.
Starting his career in San Jose he was then traded to Vancouver where he played the best hockey of his life and even received some votes for the Norris. In 2011 Buffalo's new owner, Terry Pegula, signed the free agent defenseman to a mega 10-year, $40 million dollar contract.
Things didn't work out in Buffalo though and the contract was bought out last summer.
Jim Rutherford promptly signed him to a one-year, $5 million dollar deal for the Penguins, but again there was disappointment. Ehrhoff only played 49 games and was injured throughout the team's short stay in the playoffs. It's no surprise they do not want to bring him back.
Still, he brings many of the same skills to the game that Sekera does, although he might not be as durable. He averaged 21:45 minutes of playing time per game last season and had 3 goals with 11 assists in his 49 games.
He also finished with a (+/-)+8 and had 73 hits with 49 blocked shots.
If Sekera is out of Ron Francis' price range, which he probably will be, Ehrhoff is certainly worth a look and should be much more reasonable on the books.