Devils vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Negotiations Proving Difficult

Thursday, 06.25.2009 / 1:46 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Negotiations Proving Difficult
As July 1 draws ever nearer – next Wednesday, to be exact – Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford isn’t feeling overly optimistic about how negotiations with the team’s unrestricted free agents are progressing.

Paul Branecky
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Based on what was said at the conclusion of the season, it seemed as though Erik Cole and Chad LaRose, the team’s top two internal priorities, would be back in the fold with time to spare. However, there is still some considerable ground to make up before that happens.

“It doesn’t look like it now,” said Rutherford when asked if he expected to sign Cole and LaRose before they can shop their services freely to other teams. “We’re not making a lot of progress with any guys at this point. I do have some meetings set up this week, so I’ll have a better idea when I get back to the office on Monday as to where we are on these contracts.”

Although those players could still be signed by Carolina after July 1, Rutherford said that he viewed that day as a hard deadline, making it unlikely that those players would return if talks don’t move forward rather quickly..

“There is that potential, as we always deal with, that the players come to the point where they have their free agency and it’s their time to have the leverage,” he said. “Certainly if we can’t come to an agreement by July 1, then we’re going to wish those players well and they’re probably going to move on.”

The team is also in discussions with depth forwards Ryan Bayda and Michael Ryan, although no agreement seems imminent. Rutherford said the team has already come to terms with the fact that defenseman Dennis Seidenberg will move on in the coming weeks.

If Cole and LaRose don’t return to the team, Rutherford said that he would look to replace them via trade. That could happen as early as this weekend’s entry draft, which typically sees some significant moves made around the league, although Rutherford said he didn’t envision that happening just yet.

“The only thing that will come into play this weekend is that we will test the waters as to what players are available for trade,” he said. “I don’t see us making a trade at this point.”

The Canes could also do some shopping of their own via free agency next week, but that isn’t being viewed as the most desirable route due to the same financial difficulties that they are currently facing with their own free agents.

“The way to replace these players is in a trade, because with the player we’re trading for we’d know what his contract status is,” said Rutherford. “[Free agency] would be just as expensive or more, because it’s really just another group of players that are trying to do the same thing our players are by making the best financial deal they can.”

Negotiations with restricted free agents Anton Babchuk, Jussi Jokinen and Tuomo Ruutu will not begin until July, as they are unable to leave freely to another team.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 68 20 27 -13 47
J. Faulk 73 14 32 -18 46
E. Lindholm 72 16 20 -21 36
J. Skinner 68 18 12 -22 30
V. Rask 71 11 19 -12 30
R. Nash 67 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 69 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 73 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 45 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 37 4 15 -9 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 19 21 5 .910 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62