I read a quote attributed to Jim Rutherford last week in which he said one of his lessons learned after the 2002 SCF was not to re-sign guys to contracts as a way of thanking them for service rendered. I think he was probably referring to keeping a guy like Jeff O'Neill and letting a guy like Marty Gelinas go. O'Neill basically quit playing defense after the '02 season his point production dropped by one half in his second season after the '02 Cup run. Marty doubled his point production after he went to Calgary. He then went to the finals and was an incredibly valuable two-way player for the Flames. Yeah, I recall Marty saying after the '02 season that he wanted to get back to playing and living in Canada, but he's in friggin' Miami now.
Here's how I'd like to see the Canes lineup on opening night:
Stillman - Staal - Cole
Whitney - Roddy - Williams
Ladd - Cullen - player to be named
CAdams - KAdams - LaRose
AWard - Babchuk
Commodore - Johnson (yeah, I wish)/New stud blueliner
Wallin/Kaberle - Hutchinson/Walser/newby/second acquired blueliner
So here's my player signing/re-signing priority list:
1. Keep the core together by finding a way to lock down highly regarded and therefore poachable RFA's for multiple years:
- Eric Staal
- Eric Cole
- Mike Commodore
- Justin Williams
2. Secure home-town discounts or find a way to afford valued UFA's:
- Aaron Ward
- Matt Cullen
- Frankie Kaberle or Nic Wallin
3. Make trades or strongly encourage retirements to create cap space to help do 1 and 2 above:
- Oleg Tverdovsky
- Joe Vasicek
- Glen Wesley
- Bret Hedican (I'm torn here. He still skates and plays hard. Might have 2-3 more years in the tank and take Glen's place as the wise elder - but he's expensive at $2.4 mil per season)
4. Create instant depth on the blueline the old fashioned way - buy a UFA defenseman or two!
- Joe Corvo (love this guy)
- Ruslan Salei
- Jay McKee
- Filip Kuba
- John Klemm
5. Get Jack Johnson into training camp or make the deal with the Pens to bring in Jordan Staal. Johnson may become the next Chris Pronger. JR could move him and live to regret it in 3-4 years. JR is a two-time GM of the year, therefore I must have faith. If JR rolls the dice thinking he can make him a Hurricane, we may have to wait for up to three more season just to see Johnson in camp. Also, if junior is this prickly as an amateur, is he likely to be a rookie deal and outta here kind of guy? He seems in no immediate hurry to be an NHL starter, make millions and join A FRIGGIN' STANLEY CUP CHAMPION TEAM!!!!!
6. Invest in the not-so-distant future by contracting:
- Anton Babchuk
- Chad LaRose
- Craig Adams
- Andrew Hutchinson (hedging, hedging...)
Just to fuel the Jack Johnson fire...
we have this today from TSN:
"Several published reports indicate that the Pittburgh Penguins, desperate for defence, are offering the number two overall pick to Carolina in exchange for last year's number three pick, Jack Johnson. The Hurricanes would then use the second pick on Jordan Staal, the younger brother of 'Canes star Eric Staal. "
And this from Spector:
"... Larry Pleau had rejected an offer from Pittsburgh that would have sent the Pens 2nd pick, Colby Armstrong, and another unnamed veteran player for the Blues number 1. Seems like a good deal for the Blues...but I guess this Erik Johnson kid is pretty coveted and would take a lot for the Blues to shop him. I guess you can also interpret that the Pens really want a D-man and if they can't get Erik Johnson, then those Canes-Pens rumours regarding Jack Johnson for Jordan Staal may be closer to the truth."