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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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81