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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 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
4 TBL 50 28 18 4 131 115 60
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 49 25 17 7 126 122 57
10 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
11 CAR 52 23 21 8 124 138 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 53 20 28 5 133 167 45

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 52 14 19 -15 33
K. Versteeg 51 10 21 2 31
V. Rask 50 12 18 0 30
E. Staal 52 9 21 1 30
J. Skinner 52 18 11 -4 29
J. Staal 52 11 16 4 27
E. Lindholm 52 8 16 -7 24
A. Nestrasil 45 5 12 -4 17
R. Hainsey 52 3 11 -14 14
J. Liles 52 5 7 -4 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 14 11 5 .905 2.41
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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