Tracking the Storm

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.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72