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Better News for RFA's

Tuesday, 06.30.2009 / 10:26 AM ET / 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.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

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