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With Alberts, Defense Taking Shape

Wednesday, 07.15.2009 / 5:01 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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With Alberts, Defense Taking Shape
The Canes grabbed the bruising defenseman they were looking for on Wednesday, signing 6-foot-5, 218 pound Andrew Alberts to a two-year contract.

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A player with a huge body that isn’t afraid to use it, Alberts is exactly the steady, stay-at-home type that the team was hoping to add this offseason. The 28-year-old spent all of last season with the Philadelphia Flyers, where he led the team in hits, ranked third in blocked shots, posted a +6 plus/minus rating and 61 penalty minutes. For his career, he is a -2 with 292 penalty minutes in 263 games.

“He’s got big range, plays physical and can jump into the top four,” said Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford. He covers a lot of territory in the defensive zone and really plays with that edge.”

Alberts is a continuation of the Hurricanes’ quest to add size and toughness to the lineup. The team signed winger Tom Kostopoulos, another physical type, to a three-year contract one day earlier. Those two have met before, but things will hopefully be more pleasant when they arrive in training camp as teammates in September.

“These are the kinds of players that we were looking for to change our team,” said Rutherford. “This has been a really good couple of days for us.”

The signing crosses another to-do item off the Hurricanes’ summer list, with restricted free agent Tuomo Ruutu yet to be resigned and another defenseman still likely to arrive before the season starts. That defenseman could still be Dennis Seidenberg, who remains on the market as an unrestricted free agent and has resumed negotiations with the team.

However, that need could still be met via trade. Rutherford acknowledged that the addition of Kostopoulos gives the team enough depth to consider moving a forward for a defenseman if the need should arise.

Anton Babchuk is another trade possibility, as the Hurricanes seem resigned to the fact that the restricted free agent will not play for Carolina next season. Rutherford said there has been some interest from his colleagues, but nothing is imminent.

“I had one team call about him 10 days before the draft, but they didn’t want to discuss it at the draft and I have not heard from them since,” said Rutherford.

The two signings over the last two days are likely inching the team closer towards a buyout of Czech blueliner Frantisek Kaberle, which Rutherford said he would consider if the team was able to land another defenseman that better suited their needs on the open market. Alberts seems to be that player.

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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