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Capitals vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

With Alberts, Defense Taking Shape

Wednesday, 07.15.2009 / 5:01 PM / 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 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 59 11 27 -16 38
E. Staal 54 18 18 -9 36
E. Lindholm 58 11 15 -16 26
J. Skinner 54 15 9 -16 24
R. Nash 56 7 14 -9 21
N. Gerbe 55 6 14 -13 20
A. Sekera 57 2 17 -7 19
V. Rask 57 8 10 -18 18
J. McClement 59 4 12 1 16
J. Staal 23 4 11 -1 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 16 19 4 .914 2.35
A. Khudobin 6 11 3 .901 2.73