Ideally, they'd like to move a contract before the talk of Niedermayer's return gets into overdrive and that's where the problems start. It'd be easiest to move Francois Beauchemin, who earns a modest $1.65 million (thru '09) rather than Mathieu Schneider, signed as Niedermayer's replacement at a hefty $5.625 million.
There's your affordable puck carrying defenseman. If Niedermayer is really, really planning to return really soon, the Canes might be able to pick up Beauchemin on the cheap (a pick?). His 10 points this season would make him the top-scoring defenseman on the Canes blueline. I still like the idea of Shea Weber or Ryan Suter for their size and physicality.