I would say it is likely that LaRose and Ruutu both are resigned. Cole's future seems a little more up in the air, Seidenberg will probably end up elsewhere, and Babchuk will probably be sticking around. Lets assume for the sake of conversation that Cole and Seidenberg both don't come back. That leaves us with:
Centers: Staal, Cullen, Jokinen, Brind'Amour, Sutter
Wingers: Rosie, Ruutu, Whitney, Walker, Samsonov, Eaves, Bayda
Defensemen: Gleason, Corvo, Pitkanen, Babchuk, Wallin
Extras: Conboy has a 1 way deal, and you have to expect that at least one more of Dwyer, Ryan, Boychuck, Bowman, etc. will be around.
So, as others have said, the obvious needs would be a solid second pairing shut down D man as well as someone to put with Staal as a scoring threat. As far as D men go, assuming we are looking to pick one up in free agency and not via trade, my list of players to choose from in no particular order would be:
Bouwmeester- too expensive and likely not really an option at all...Mattias Ohlund- I like this option, assuming he does not cost us too much. He has solid size, was a +14 for Vancouver, and isn't too old...Hal Gill- Perhaps a year older than I would like, but adds some obvious size to our defensive corps and team in general which I would greatly appreciate. He doesn't bring much offense, but was a +11 this year...Paul Mara- Good size, and a relatively young guy compared to the rest of the free agent market. Admittedly I do not know a ton about him though...Mike Komisarek- Again, adds some size and would probably be an option...Ossi Vaananen- Another 6' 4" guy with solid numbers. Might be a little cheaper than some of the other options, but I'm not sure...Scuderi, Zanon, and Montador would be possible options as well, with Montador and Zanon perhaps being more economically possible...Then there is always the option of trading, but I do not know who we would try to deal for.
In terms of a scoring forward...I like the option of Mike Cammalleri- 39 goals and 82 points last year, and would definitely be a help on the power play (19PPG) which we could definitely use. Only 26 years old as well, however would be another small forward added to an already small team...Marty Havlat- Slightly bigger than Cammalleri, and a solid scorer in his own right with 29 goals and 77 points. Probably not quite the type of firepower that we are looking for, but as a second tier option I wouldn't mind seeing him in a 'Canes uniform...In my opinion the Sedins would be out of the question because they will want to stay together and there is no way we could afford both, but if somehow we could lure one of them away I would be interested...Other guys I might be interested in although I doubt we would have the cap room for another forward signing would be Comrie or Sykora...And finally, what about Viktor Kozlov? I know he was a Capital, but the guy would bring us some much needed size up front and is not a complete oaf for his size. I wouldn't want him as the winger to pair with Staal of course, but I think he would be a solid addition if there is any way we can afford him alongside another winger.
Thoughts? Obviously, I know very little about our cap room and the salary cap situation of the NHL in general. As a now 5th year young hockey fan, its nice to be on this board with some fellow Caniacs and hope we make some moves next year to improve this team! I would hate to see a repeat of '06 where we elect not to change a thing and it ends up setting us back for a couple of years. This team obviously overacheived, and if nothing is changed we will take a step back next year in my opinion. Lets go 'Canes!