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Blues vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Better News for RFA's

Tuesday, 06.30.2009 / 10:26 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Better News for RFA\'s
While talks with the majority of the Hurricanes’ pending unrestricted free agents have hit a standstill, much more progress is being made with those set to become restricted.

Paul Branecky
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One of those players, Jussi Jokinen, has already agreed to a two-year contract to remain in Carolina. It may not be long before Anton Babchuk and Tuomo Ruutu follow suit, as both players have already received qualifying offers from the team.

“I had a good meeting with Ruutu’s agent at the draft,” said Carolina General Manager Jim Rutherford. “That process has started and we’ll see where that goes.”

With Babchuk, the process has actually been made a little bit easier by the player’s decision to play a season in Russia while still under contract with the Hurricanes in 2007-08.

“When he went back to Russia for the one year it really affected his status because now he doesn’t have any arbitration rights,” said Rutherford. “We want him back, we want him to continue to grow into a real solid, consistent performer and we expect him to take his qualifier.”

Although the negotiation process with Jokinen wasn’t quite as quick as it seemed – the initial talks began around two weeks ago – Rutherford was very pleased with the end result.

“I think when you look at Jokinen’s situation he clearly did not want to go anywhere else, and that’s how you get these done prior to July 1,” said Rutherford. “He worked really hard with us on his contract to make that fit within our team, so we appreciate what he did as a player and we appreciate what he did in the negotiations. I expect him to have a really good year this year.”

Finishing up contracts for Babchuk, Ruutu and unrestricted free agent Michael Ryan figure to be the main objectives for the Hurricanes in the coming days. Rutherford said that he did not plan to initiate contract discussions with players who will become unrestricted free agents tomorrow, but expected talks to materialize anyway.

“We’ll get calls from agents,” he said. “We won’t be proactive, but when free agency opens the agents are calling and we’ll start to look at what our options are, because we’ll probably have one or two positions to fill.”

Some of those positions could eventually be filled by the team’s up and coming prospects – a group headlined by Drayson Bowman, Zach Boychuk and Jamie McBain, among others. While the team will be careful not to rush players in before they are ready, Rutherford did say that their rise through the ranks has had a bearing on some of the discussions he’s had thus far.

“They’re young guys but they’re talented, and we could very well see one of two of them coming out of camp and making the team,” said Rutherford. “That is one of the reasons why we’re being a little bit cautious with some of these contracts.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 49 14 32 3 92 174 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 42 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 47 9 19 -13 28
E. Lindholm 47 9 11 -11 20
J. Tlusty 40 12 7 -11 19
J. Skinner 42 10 9 -7 19
R. Nash 47 7 12 -4 19
N. Gerbe 43 5 13 -3 18
V. Rask 47 6 9 -10 15
A. Sekera 45 1 14 -6 15
C. Terry 34 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .918 2.30
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45