There are a few Hurricanes related articles posted recently which I thought might be of interest and worth discussion.
Cam Ward has been in the news of late. The goalie has stated more than once that he would like to stay in Raleigh and does so once again in this interview with David Glenn.
Chip Alexander quoted Ron Francis in this recent article that the general manager would have some discussion with Ward in early June.
Asked Monday if he believed he would be able to re-sign Ward, Francis said, "We’re still looking at that. We plan to meet in early June to see where we’re at."
Ward, 32, had a $6.8 million salary last season, the final year of a six-year, $37.8 million contract extension signed in September 2009. That extension was signed after Ward helped Carolina reach the Eastern Conference finals in 2008-09 – the Canes’ last playoff appearance.
Francis said "term and money" would be the key elements of the contract discussions – that is, the length of contract and salary being proposed. At the same time, Francis said the Canes would evaluate free agents or possibly goalies who might be available in a trade.
It seems thoughts are all over the place around the Caniac Nation regarding the possible re-signing of the long-time Carolina netminder. From my perspective, it's time to move on.
While there is no arguing about Ward's ability to get hot and make some incredible saves at times, he has been unable to break a .910 save percentage over the past four seasons, (.908, .898, .910, .909). At 32 years old and having been worked hard at times over his career, there is no reason to feel confident that he will be able to improve significantly and be consistent over a full season next year.
Still, it seems like Francis is flirting with re-signing him. We will see.
Sebastian Aho, Carolina's second round selection last season, had another great tournament at the Worlds this spring. The forward scored two goals for Team Finland in the semifinals win against Russia and notched a total of seven points for the tourney. He also had 45 points in 45 games playing against older players in the adult Liiga Finnish League.
This News and Observer article states that expectations have not been so high for a player here since Eric Staal. Keep in mind this is a second rounder from last year that many had not heard of at the time he was selected, including the experts on the NHL Network who were covering the draft last season and searching to see which "Sebastian Aho" the Canes selected. Still, there is a lot of hype about him right now and all indications point to him playing in the NHL next season. Now all they need to do is sign him to a contract, but will that be easier said than done?
Could Harri Aho, who is Sebastian's father and the GM of the Karpat team the younger Aho plays on, be reluctant about losing the services of his son for next season? Ron Francis said in his post season interview that he would be trying to sign the possible future star after the tournament so let's hope that happens sooner rather than later.
Talking about contracts, it seems the Hurricanes have a contract offer on the table for Victor Rask. In the same News and Observer article from above, it states that the center underwent successful shoulder surgery already this offseason.
"We’ve reached out to his agent and waiting for a response," Francis said of Rask. "We are looking to negotiate something. As for what that might be, it would be premature to say."
Rask, in his second NHL season, scored 21 goals and had 48 points, and was one of the Canes’ better defensive forwards. He played a chunk of the season with an injured shoulder that Francis said required surgery soon after the season ended.
"The surgery went really well, and he should be ready for training camp (in September)," Francis said.
Hopefully, this will be another signing which will be reported soon.
Finally, last week I wrote an article about moving up in the draft. I must admit, at that time I did not do very much research, I just blurted out a few thoughts about what it might take to move up. Some folk from Edmonton visited to leave comments saying that they did not think my suggestions were very realistic.
I happened to stumble across the following article written by Carolina's official stat analyst, Eric Tulsky, who is well known for his diligent research and got hired by the Hurricanes for his expertise. In Eric's article, he lists a table with the results of his analysis concerning the value of draft picks and the supposed cost of moving up.
According to his research, he determined that the value of the fourth overall pick is 53.4.
The value of the 13th overall pick is about 31 and the value of the 21st is about 21 for a total value of 52. If I am reading this correctly, then trading the Hurricanes' two first round picks up for the fourth overall is not so incredulous.
Tulsky explains his methodology and also mentions that there are variables in every draft. But there are no guaranteed superstars at number four in this draft and experts are not in total agreement with whom will be picked there.
Matthew Tkachuk is mentioned more often than not at that position but PierreLuc DuBois has also been talked often about going higher than Tkachuk, (Craig Button, Corey Pronman, and others.)
We will be talking much more about the draft as it approaches.