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Trades Could Happen Early, Often

Thursday, 01.21.2010 / 12:13 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Trades Could Happen Early, Often
In the same way that Wednesday’s captaincy transition was symbolic of a new era for the Hurricanes, it could also mark the unofficial starting point of a flurry of changes for the organization.

Paul Branecky
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General Manager Jim Rutherford said Thursday that he expects to make any number of trades from now until the league deadline on March 3 involving a group of veteran players who are on the last years of their contracts. In return, he hopes to bring back young talent and draft picks in order to re-stock the team down the road.

”We have veteran guys that have won the Stanley Cup, so not only are they good players but they’ve had the experience of winning,” said Rutherford. “These are guys that can certainly go into any top team and help them this year. We’re going to get some interest in some of our unrestricted free agents.

“At this point it’s about building real good assets for the future,” he continued. “It’s not about trying to put the team together for next year. It’s about getting as many young assets as we can, and then in the off-season we’ll look at what our needs are and try to shape the team then.”

Players whose contracts expire after this season are Joe Corvo, Matt Cullen, Manny Legace, Scott Walker, Niclas Wallin Aaron Ward, Ray Whitney and Stephane Yelle. Corvo, the youngest player in that group, is 32, indicating that many of those players will likely not be part of the rebuilding process. Walker, Wallin and Whitney have no-trade clauses, although they could be willing to waive them in the right situation.

That being said, it may actually be easier to determine which players will almost certainly not be traded than those who could be available. Although nothing is set in stone, the Hurricanes would need to be blown away to part with any of Tim Gleason, Tuomo Ruutu, Eric Staal, Brandon Sutter or Cam Ward – established younger players whom the team can continue to build around.

While Rutherford has been working the phones since the team’s struggles became evident in the opening months of the season, he said it wasn’t until after the Christmas break that contending teams began to approach him more seriously about making deals. Talks should continue to heat up between now and March 3, although some around the league foresee a busy trading period prior to the Olympic roster freeze that runs from February 12 at 3 p.m. until 11:59 p.m. on February 28, giving those who wait to make deals less than three full days before the deadline.

While acknowledging that a de-facto “early deadline” on February 12 is a possibility, Rutherford could not predict it with any certainly.

“I think teams ideally would rather wait until the deadline and let the team they’re acquiring the player from continue to pay the salary, which makes it easier to fit into their budget or their cap,” he said. “At the same time, if a team really wants a player, they don’t want to get in that flurry of a few days before the deadline and find that they may not get the player that they want.”

Even if several veterans are traded from the Hurricanes’ current roster, Rutherford made it clear that he still expects the team to compete at the highest level possible down the stretch. When addressing the team Wednesday to made the captaincy change official, he also personally conveyed that message to the team.

“We’re not as good as a bunch of teams and we could give 100 percent and still lose games, but as long as we give everything we’ve got for the remaining 35 games then we can accept that as an organization,” he said. “For the players that don’t, there’s not a future here for them.”

Rutherford said that Brett Carson, Patrick Dwyer and Jiri Tlusty have already given themselves the inside track for spots on next season’s NHL roster with their play. He added that Drayson Bowman and Zach Boychuk will also be given a longer look with the Hurricanes, and that defenseman Jamie McBain will likely make his NHL debut later this season.


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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
K. Versteeg 63 11 22 -6 33
E. Staal 63 10 23 -3 33
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81