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Let the Canes trade rumor talks begin in the media

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Here is the full article from today Triangle Business Journal referenced in the Spectors update:

TBJ Rutherford expects to trade Cullen first then Whitney

Hurricanes GM Rutherford expects to trade Cullen first, then Whitney

Just because the
have started winning more often than not in recent weeks, don’t expectthe team’s front office to stop talking to other clubs about movingsome players.

President and General Manager Jim Rutherford says he expects totrade Matt Cullen before the Olympic roster freeze, which runs Feb.12-28, and Ray Whitney after the break but before the March 3 tradedeadline.

They are unrestricted free agents at the end of the year so comeJuly, we may make a run for them to come back,” Rutherford says
. “Butfor now, with Scott Walker, Chad LaRose and Eric Cole ready to come inand contribute, I believe we will be OK.”

The three forwards have been hurt for a while and are expected to return to the lineup as early as this week.

With defenseman Nick Wallin gone, and with the imminent departure ofCullen and Whitney, the team could shave as much as $2 million from itspayroll starting next year.

Rutherford also said that for the Hurricanes to start looking at thestandings and get excited, the team must bring the point differencebetween the eighth spot in the conference (last spot to qualify for theplayoffs) and Carolina to single-digits. The Canes headed into playWednesday night behind by 10 points for the eighth and final spot.“Obviously, we have to win the final two games (against the
and the
) before the Olympic break.”

The Hurricanes will have the chance over the next four weeks to playseveral of the teams fighting for the three final spots in the playoffs.

Carolina has three games apiece left with the
and the
, two games each against the
, Montreal Canadians,
,
and the
.

It’s been an eventful week for the Hurricanes. On Tuesday, the National Hockey League said that Carolina and the
would start the 2010-11 regular season with a pair of games inHelsinki, Finland. Then, on Wednesday, came news that the Hurricanes’top minor-league affiliate has been sold and will move from Albany,N.Y., to Charlotte.

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If he's going to trade Cullen before the break, it will have to be today. Everything I have read says the freeze starts at midnight 2/12, which is about 12 hours from now.

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One last plea not to trade Cullen unless he will be hard to sign.

True Cullen is on pace for 17 goals, which is not breathtakingly good for a second line center, but he is an assist machine now, and has been in the past when healthy. He is good in the shootout, he plays decent defense, seems to bring 100% always, seems to have a good attitude, and is still at an age where he can be a veteran presence that is not considering his AARP options.

He is scoring .68 points per game on a team that until recently was in constant danger of padding the stats of backup goalies. Only Staal, Whitney, and Jokinen (on a career year) have more points per game up front. That means the team has a huge supply of guys that are far less productive.

It sounds like it's going to happen, but I still vote against it unless we can resign him offseason. I don't get a vote? Big mistake not giving me a vote.

Keep Cullen!*

*Of course we need to sign him. On that one I may be missing a key point. Can we sign him before losing him to free agency? If not, then we have to trade him. I would just like to see him on next year's team (unless by some miracle we end up with Seguin).

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Color me confused.  This is the heading on TSN.ca's Tradecenter page:

The NHL's trade freeze before the Olympics begins Friday at 3pm et, with the trade deadline looming on Wed, Mar. 3 at 3pm et.

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Well, I'll be sorry to see Cullen go (again), but it does make sense for the team.  Wherever he ends up, I hope it ends with him hoisting another Cup. 

Also, I know that this isn't Canes news, but I was surprised to see on Spector today that there are rumors out of Florida that Rotislav Olesz is trade bait.  I'm surprised by this (if it's true), as I always thought he was a pretty good player.  He's still really young (23) and recently signed a long-term contract.  Any re-building team that is looking to get younger would do well to keep an eye on that situation. 

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For the Cullen fans out there, Chip just posted a article on his perspective:

Cullen puts aside rumors, plays hockey

The Canes' Matt Cullen has heard all the trade rumors. He knowsanything can happen, and could happen by Friday at 3 p.m., when thetrade freeze for the Olympics begins.

But Cuilen says it's not hard putting that our of his mind and just concentrating on hockey.

"You just do," he said today. "That's the only way you can do it because it's part of the business.

"It's just one of those things you learn as a player, that you haveto block out any distractions that you don't have control over. Andthis is one of those."

If you believe the speculation, there are at least four teamsactively seeking a deal for Cullen, a good two-way center who can beused on the power play and is an aggressive penalty killer. If youbelieve the speculation, general manager Jim Rutherford wants at leasta second-round draft pick in return for Cullen, who will be anunrestricted free agent after the season.

"I just focus on what I'm doing on the ice and don't consideranything else," Cullen said. "I think that's the best way to besuccessful. That's what I've learned from guys like Roddy(Brind'Amour), to just focus on the game, because that's all you cancontrol."

Cullen said this is the last thing anyone could have expected, to bein February and all but out of the playoff chase and having everyoneguessing which players will be traded and when. Ray Whitney's name isbeing tossed around even more than Cullen's.

"We didn't expect it but that's the way it worked out," he said."It's just the way the business works. Everyone knows when they'regoing into the final year of their contract, if they're not in theplayoffs are whatever, there's a likely chance."

Cullen does not have a no-trade clause in his contract, so he saidthe information he's getting is sketchy. Canes management, he said,handles the negotiations.

"I know all that talk is out there but I don't really worry about itor look into that," he said. "There's nothing I can do to control it,so it's a waste of time and energy for me."

Regardless of how things shake out, Cullen said he would like to beback with the Canes next season, if all can be worked out suitably forboth sides.

"We have a home here and love it, and obviously have some greatfriends and great memories here," he said. "Certainly this is the placewhere I really like playing, but we'll just have to see how it playsout."

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For the Cullen fans out there, Chip just posted a article on his perspective:

Cullen puts aside rumors, plays hockey

The Canes' Matt Cullen has heard all the trade rumors. He knowsanything can happen, and could happen by Friday at 3 p.m., when thetrade freeze for the Olympics begins.

But Cuilen says it's not hard putting that our of his mind and just concentrating on hockey.

"You just do," he said today. "That's the only way you can do it because it's part of the business.

"It's just one of those things you learn as a player, that you haveto block out any distractions that you don't have control over. Andthis is one of those."

If you believe the speculation, there are at least four teamsactively seeking a deal for Cullen, a good two-way center who can beused on the power play and is an aggressive penalty killer. If youbelieve the speculation, general manager Jim Rutherford wants at leasta second-round draft pick in return for Cullen, who will be anunrestricted free agent after the season.

"I just focus on what I'm doing on the ice and don't consideranything else," Cullen said. "I think that's the best way to besuccessful. That's what I've learned from guys like Roddy(Brind'Amour), to just focus on the game, because that's all you cancontrol."

Cullen said this is the last thing anyone could have expected, to bein February and all but out of the playoff chase and having everyoneguessing which players will be traded and when. Ray Whitney's name isbeing tossed around even more than Cullen's.

"We didn't expect it but that's the way it worked out," he said."It's just the way the business works. Everyone knows when they'regoing into the final year of their contract, if they're not in theplayoffs are whatever, there's a likely chance."

Cullen does not have a no-trade clause in his contract, so he saidthe information he's getting is sketchy. Canes management, he said,handles the negotiations.

"I know all that talk is out there but I don't really worry about itor look into that," he said. "There's nothing I can do to control it,so it's a waste of time and energy for me."

Regardless of how things shake out, Cullen said he would like to beback with the Canes next season, if all can be worked out suitably forboth sides.

"We have a home here and love it, and obviously have some greatfriends and great memories here," he said. "Certainly this is the placewhere I really like playing, but we'll just have to see how it playsout."

I am loving that red part. A second round pick and Cullen back next year would be genius.

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Cullen's departure and subsequent reacquisition should give both sides incentive to work things out.  Cullen was thrilled to come back for a reason.  JR sought to get him back for a reason as well.  He realized the only player that could fill the hole left by Matt Cullen was Matt Cullen.

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Cullen's departure and subsequent reacquisition should give both sides incentive to work things out.  Cullen was thrilled to come back for a reason.  JR sought to get him back for a reason as well.  He realized the only player that could fill the hole left by Matt Cullen was Matt Cullen.

I agree---Cullen is my favorite player ! He has worked hard all year regardless of our place in the standings. I am glad to know he would

 like to come back. Please work on that, JR, even if you have to trade him in the short term !!  Remember how hard it was to fill his spot last time.

GO CANES !!

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If he's going to trade Cullen before the break, it will have to be today. Everything I have read says the freeze starts at midnight 2/12, which is about 12 hours from now.
Apparently, everything I read was wrong. Spector's (where I saw it most clear before) now has it as:

NOTE: THE OLYMPIC TRADE FREEZE BEGINS 3 PM FEB 12 AND ENDS MIDNIGHT FEB 28 2010
So we have another day to wonder. You'd think they would mention this on NHL.com, wouldn't you??

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I have been wondering about the Whitney no-trade clause. Clearly it gives Whitney a lot of leverage, but it doesn't mean he will be able to get outlandish demands. As others have mentioned that 3 year demand may be Whitney's way of vetoing a move to LA. It also may have been a way of testing the market. You never know unless you ask. If it becomes apparent that a three year deal is not happening, then maybe he tries for two. If he waits it out too long and misses the trade deadline, he gets no deal. He becomes a soon to be 38 year old free agent with no contract. Further, he could get injured between then and the end of the year decreasing his value.

I have no problem with Whitney looking out for Whitney to some extent, but at some point it would actually hurt Whitney if his demands result in no deal. I suspect a deal will get done for Whitney. There is just too much interest out there, and as the deadline approaches there will be a lot of pressure for a cup hopeful to add a prize like Whitney. And as the deadline approaches Whitney will be able to get some kind of contract, maybe 2 years.

Here's a different take on the Whitney situation.  In the past three weeks I have read several quotes, in several places,

all were attributed to unnamed (but insider) sources, and they all have said the same thing: Ray wants to go to the Pens.

Los Angeles has offered what JR wants: a 1st-round pick and a "good" prospect  The problem is that the Pens have

only offered a #2 and a non top-tier prospect.  On a side note: evidently the Kings are the only team that has offered a

#1 pick.  LA has even received permission to talk to Ray's agent - but he doesn't have to go to LA if he doesn't want to. 

Now, JR would like to get the highest return possible, so he must either talk Ray into going to LA, or take a lesser return

and trade him to Pittsburgh.  The interest level among other teams doesn't really enter into it at this point.  JR's main job

right now is NOT to pull a 'Bouwmeester'.  I'm sure he won't, but the potential is there for it to happen.  Here's how ....

Pittsburgh reportedly is trying to clear an additional $300K in cap space.  That means, in all likelihood, moving Fedotenko. 

There are several teams apparently interested in him (Nashville ... Minnesota ... yes, even LA) but nothing will happen until

the 3rd.  Probably pretty close to 3pm on the 3rd.  It's like a high-end game of chicken.  Or a Chinese fire drill.  Obviously,

the Penguins have a couple of other options.  No doubt LA does too.  If LA moves on to something else, and Pitt GM Ray

Shero would do something totally unexpected, which  he's been known to do, it could leave Whitney - and JR - scrambling.

Of course, Whitney could acquiesce and something could be worked out.  Or, he could stay with the Canes for the rest of

the year.  That would be the textbook definition of pulling a 'Bouwmeester', tho.

   

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Latest Spector's rambling:

Spector's evening NHL rumor update

With the NHL's Olympic trade freeze slated for 3 pm ET Friday find out the latest as that deadline draws near.

:Darren Dreger reports of lots of speculation ahead  Friday's 3 pm ETOlympic trade freeze. Interest in Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco hasbeen minimal according to Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk, in part because ofTurco's $5.7 million cap hit....The Pitsburgh Penguins are believedinterested in Carolina's Ray Whitney but it's unlikely they'll partwith the asking price of a first round pick and a prospect... Fourteams are believed interested in centre Matt Cullen, for whom theHurricanes want a second round pick....The St. Louis Blues have alertedteams of defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo's availability and will considerinterest in pending UFAs Keith Tkachuk and Paul Kariya....Ten teams arebelieved interested in Toronto's Alexei Ponikarovsky but no offers havebeen made. Tomas Kaberle meanwhile remains firm on his desire to remainwith the Leafs.

SPECTOR'S NOTE: If Turco gets moved it'll likely be byMarch 3rd when more of his salary has been paid by the Stars...TheHurricanes might have to come down in price if they hope to moveWhitney but shouldn't have much trouble moving Cullen...Don't besurprised if Tkachuk or Kariya are playing elsewhere by March3rd...Ponikarovsky probably won't get moved until March. Kaberle won'tbe dealt.

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Concerning last nights game CanesCountry.com reports  "There were plenty of rumors floating around the press area, but nothing of substance.  Scouts from several teams attended including:  Toronto, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Montreal, Minnesota, Columbus, Los Angeles, and the New York Islanders."

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Follow up Tweets from Chip:

Cullen trade expected to be only transaction today by Canes.

Canes expected to get another high draft pick, but not first-rounder.

And from Craig Custance:

 

@
says Matt Cullen deal all but done. @
says the Senators are a possibility and have made an offer.

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Chip also tweeted that the Cullen trade is expected to be the only transaction today by the Canes.  So it appears that once again, Eklund is making stuff up. lol

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And the best tweet from Chip:

Not sure yet of Cullen's new team.
Will not be the Sabres.

Everyone can exhale now laugh.gif

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^^ Amen to that!!

This is nerve wracking. Too bad he didn't score last night, he had a couple of close ones (along with half the team, it seemed).

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I like Cullen as much as the next guy, but remember, some players are going to have to leave to make room for the young players we want to bring in.  Everybody here seems to be aching for Whitney and Cullen to be resigned and J.R. has stated that just because a player is traded doesn't mean he can't come back.  That's true but J.R. isn't saying that he's going to be bringing these guys back.

I'm sure he'd entertain a contract at the right price, but it's a business on both sides.  J.R. is going to want a younger and therefore cheaper team on the ice next season.  That may not include the return of Whitney and Cullen.  If I had to guess, I'd say we'd see Cullen back out of the two.

To make sure I'm on topic here, at least we can be through with this after this afternoon and will know one way or the other before the Olympic freeze.

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