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Canes 2010 general off season talk

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I agree that training camp should be exciting. Samson, Boychuk, McBain to name a handful will be interesting to watch. I won't be surprised to see some of the young guns start out in Charlotte (ala Sutter this season) but get brought back into the fold pretty quick.

Our defense should be interesting, as only Pitkanen and Gleason are under contract for next season (not including any young guns, just the veterans) Pothier and Harrison I believe are UFAs at the end of this season and Picard and Carson are RFAs.

Our forwards, only Whitney is a UFAs at the end of this season. Everyone else, other than Ruutu, Kostopoulus and Staal, are UFAs at the end of next season. (again not including the young guns, just the veterans)

There will be quite a lot of holes to fill next season. Cullen may return, would not be surprised is JR went after him to bring him back into the fold.

Potential lineup for next season:

Center / Winger / Winger

Staal / Ruutu / Whitney (Whitney re-signs a 2 year deal)

Sutter / Cole / Jokinen

Cullen / Bowman / Boychuk (Cullen comes back, re-signs a 2 year deal)

LaRose / Samsonov(Samson) / Kostopoulus (Samsonov maybe gets traded in the off-season / Draft Day Package Deal)

Osala optional forward, alternates as healthy scratch with other players

Rod Brind'amour becomes a strength and conditioning coach with the Canes

Pitkanen / Gleason

McBain / Pothier(Rodney)

Carson / Picard

Kaberle still on the books for 2010-11 season

Ward / Legace (Peters) (Peters starts out in Charlotte, mid season call up)

Just some ideas I've kicked around.

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"Kaberle still on the books for 2010-11 season" He was a buy out didn't he come off the books? We still "own" Babchuk is he on the books? Is Tanabe off the books yet? Anyone here think we keep Manny or cut him loose? Peter's is almost to good to play back-up unless you run the goalies in some sort of tandam rotation.Leighton is a pretty good example of what can happen to even a decent goalie that doesn't get much ice time. Peters is VERY good/young and is hungry to play..."backup" not a good position to have, in his situation.

When will the videos from this season be taken off the boards?

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"Kaberle still on the books for 2010-11 season" He was a buy out didn't he come off the books? We still "own" Babchuk is he on the books? Is Tanabe off the books yet? Anyone here think we keep Manny or cut him loose? Peter's is almost to good to play back-up unless you run the goalies in some sort of tandam rotation.Leighton is a pretty good example of what can happen to even a decent goalie that doesn't get much ice time. Peters is VERY good/young and is hungry to play..."backup" not a good position to have, in his situation.

When will the videos from this season be taken off the boards?

Kaberle was bought out last summer.  He is still on the books for 733K for one more year.  (2/3 of his salary spread over 2 years is the buy out for someone his age).  We own Babchuk's rights, he is not "on the books" for salary because he has no contract.  Tanabe's situation was unique.  He was not bought out.  They tried to buy him out but it got messy due to his medical condition.  The Canes reached a settlement with him.  It was a three year payment agreement but if by "on the books" you mean  "cap hit" it does not affect our cap as far as I know.  Someone correct me if I'm wrong.  That was a really weird situation and I have not seen anything this year that indicates that settlement is part of our cap.  Jeff Hamilton was still on our books this year too - remember him?  It was only $267K, he's gone now.

I would not say Peter's is too good to play back up.  Yes he looks very promising but he has played in 6 NHL games.  I don't think you can make that call this early.  Back up is a good start for him and I don't think 1 more year down there will hurt us either.  I think Cam can benefit from having a true veteran like Legacy behind him, there is some merit to that as well.  I  don't really care either way who sits on the bench behind Cam next year, either one is fine with me.  But I do agree if Peter's lands that job, he needs more games than what we traditionally have given our back ups.

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I will start with the negative first to get it out of the way.

We missed two opportunities to better our team. First, we went on a late season winning streak and lost our shot at a can't miss elite player for years to come. I know half of you disagree with me on this, but I would rather have a young superstar in the making for years to come, than for a few kids to get that winning feeling at the end of a bad year. Second, we got nothing for Ray Whitney. Think what another first rounder might have brought.

There is much positive though, and on balance I am very optimistic about the future of this team and this franchise.

1. The fans stayed. Lousy season and a sell out (or nearly) for the last, meaningless game? AMAZING!

2. We have some talented young players. Sutter broke out, and that is great news in itself. But it would not be shocking if any of the following had significant NHL time next year: Boychuk, Bowman, Tlusty, Samson, McBain, Carson, Borer, Dwyer, Rodney, Harrison, Dalphe........Babchuk, hey he's still listed as "in the system", new first rounder. With all that potential NHL level talent and all those later round picks and hopefully some cap space JR can..

3. JR gets to build his team. No more attempts to reshape the cup team. It's now the new core. With all those guys and picks listed above and possible trades, JR can really go forth and make some moves. Exciting.

4. Though in the long run it may come at a high price, the core of this team showed that it will not accept losing and can win.

5. The All Star game will increase season tickets. Any decent team effort next year and the RBC center will be full and rocking.

6. Jokinen broke the heck out.

7. LaRose showed that he still has it.

8. Staal, if healthy is a star.

9. Ward, see Staal.

As for moves I would make it is simple:

Retire: Brind'Amour. Single biggest move. Move upstairs.

Trade: Cole, Sammy. Just not consistent producers, need to free up cap space.

This one is hard: Let Whitney go. Use the cap space of Cole, Whitney and Sammy to get that one top winger.

Then, with more cap space and lots of young salaries in the line up. Go get ONE just sub All Star first line winger with proven production. NOT a Hossa or Gaborik, more of a Stillman or Whitney or Williams of the cup year.

That will assure a very lethal first line of Jokinen-Staal-that guy.

Then get back Cullen. Move Sutter to second line. Ruutu-Sutter-LaRose

Third Line: Boychuk-Cullen-First round pick.

Fourth: Samson-Kstop-Dwyer

As you can see, even without Cole, Whitney, Brind'Amour, Sammy, we would not have room for Bowman, Tlusty, Dalpe, etc.

Simply have to move some of those guys to get the young guys up.

The defense:

McBain, Pitkanen, Gleason for sure, mayber Carson. Then it gets interesting. Babchuk anyone? Or Borer had looked really good a few years ago. Maybe resign Pothier, I'd take Corvo back if there were cap room after the one top winger and the price was not crazy.

Anyways, this should be the most interesting off season since I've been a fan, and next year looks bright. Can't wait. Did I mention All-Star game?

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Interesting indeed. 

I don't disagree with you on Sammy or Cole.   I just wonder what the feasibility would be of making a trade, particularly with Samsonov.  It seems there is still some desire for Cole from other teams around the league but I wonder if JR would make that trade.  When Cullen was traded, I really thought he would be back.  I have my doubts now.  We had a pretty good run without him and I wonder if that will play into any of this.  The Pothier/Corvo situation is also interesting, I can see one of these guys here next year but doubtful both or maybe neither.  I think it will come down to price.  Forslund was really talking up Pothier on the Aftermath on Thursday  night.  I can't remember exactly what he said but it all about him fitting in well with the team and he seemed to like it here.  Who knows.

I am really looking forward to training camp.  I think McBain will be a keeper and I also think Carson has proven he can be a solid 5/6.   Not sold on Boychuk being a lock.  He still looks like he has a lot of development ahead of him to me and I think that spot is up for grabs to the best performer between him, Tlusty,  Samson, and whoever else can step it up in September.  Perhaps we see 2 of these guys next year. 

There is also the possibility that someone we think will be here next year will be involved in a trade if JR has any intention of moving up in the draft.   I think a player/prospect might have to go with a few picks.  I thought it was really interesting a few games ago when Forslund was discussing Pitkanen's lack of on ice chemistry with the whole team and questioned how long the team will wait to see if this situation improves.  I think the words were "the only person on the ice that knows what Joni is going to do is Joni" and that sounded like it has caused some issues.  I know JR had coveted him for a long time and I don't know how easily he would let him go.

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Yes, we had a pretty good run without Cullen---------but especially if Brindy elects to retire

and take another job in the organization--------we will need Cullen for strength down the

middle.  (Staal, Sutter, Cullen and Dwyer would be strong.) Cullen also brings strength to the

PP and PK and plays well defensively and on faceoffs. !!! Hard working player every game,

like he is doing in Ottowa now. He is a character guy and would be a great veteran leader for

the younger guys !!!!

Defense will be interesting. Pits and Gleason will need at least one other NHL tested blueliner,

maybe two. I think McBain and Carson have a good chance to move up. (Harrison/Piccard/Rodney

I could see fighting for the 6-7 spot)   As to NHL tested blueliner------I think we try to resign

Corvo or try to sign Pothier. (I actually would like to see both--but doubt that is affordable )

My guess is we re-sign Whitney for 1-2 years.

Seems we have an abundance of wingers so that will be interesting to watch.

I say sign Manny to back up Cam because I think Peters will get to play more in Charlotte.

Just my 2 cents.

GO CANES !!!

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I disagree with all of you. We need to become younger, and make space for our prospects. Resigning Cullen would put us back. He's a special teams player, but IMO Sutter is a great replacement player for Cullen. Move on with him and wish Cullen the best wherever he goes.

As for having too many players, it's obvious there will be trades in the coming off season. I'm just interested in seeing how the last few games go and where our final spot in the League Standings are. I really want Cam Fowler in a 'Canes jersey next year. We also may have a second rounder posing a serious threat at cracking a starting spot on the 'Canes too, like Ryan O'Reilly of the Avs this year. I would be happy to see a very different team next year in terms of the callups becoming regulars and some of the older guys going.

Players competing for Starting Roster Spot:

Forwards

Zac Dalpe

Zach Boychuk

Jerome Samson RFA
Chris Terry

Drayson Bowman

Jiri Tlusty RFA

Oskar Osala

1st Rounder

Possible 2nd Rounder

Defense

Jamie McBain

Casey Borer

Jay Harrison UFA

Bryan Rodney UFA

Tim Conboy

1st Rounder

Possible 2nd Rounder

Proven Roster Players:

Forwards

Erik Cole

Eric Staal

Rod Brind'Amour (possibly retiring)

Tuomo Ruutu

Jussi Jokinen

Chad LaRose

Sergei Samsonov

Brandon Sutter

Patrick Dwyer

Tom Kostopoulos

Ray Whitney UFA

Defense

Tim Gleason

Joni Pitkanen

Brian Pothier UFA
Alexandre Picard RFA

Brett Carson RFA

Other RFA's: G- Justin Peters, F- Stephen Goertzen

Other UFA's: F- Michael Ryan, G- Manny Legace

Notes: Extend Sutter and Jokinen for 2+ years added to their existing contracts. Resigning Samson, Peters, necessity.

We have the third most cap-space in the league, only the Islanders and Blue Jackets have more space than we do. Use that space to get a first line Winger to accompany either Staal and Jokinen or Staal and Whitney. And when I say first line winger I mean an all-star winger. I want a known name. We have enough potential and young guys, now we need a big name who those young guys can look up to, already know about them, and learn from. Staal is one of those guys, but we need a potent offensive guy. With around $10.5 million in cap space, we can afford it, and that's not including the $3+ million from Brindy's retirement. Renew from within for the most part, except getting an established yet still young offensive winger.

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Move out most of the over 30 crowd, especially Samsonov, Cole and Brind'Amour. Cut your losses (and ties) and take what you can get for Sergei and Cole, and buy out Rod ($2MM < $3MM). They crowd out roster spots for what is needed, as described below.

At forward, Cullen or a suitable 3rd line center is needed to fill the gap at center. Re-sign Ray to 1 year, or two with a lower base + incentives. He is the vet needed to mentor the youngsters. Add a (true) protector so the youngsters aren't targets for runs, since most are finesse/speed players. That leaves a young, fast and aggressive group of forwards. Keep Jussi on the wing ( I still don't understand why Jussi never returned with Ray and Staal after the brief Sutter absence due to injury late this season). The Rats at wing for Sutter and Cullen/other/Dwyer makes sense.

On defense, there is room for Pothier (preferred) or Corvo, but not both at the cost they'll go for. If not then, a similar skilled/professional defender. We also need another top 4 defender through trade or $$$. McBain, Carson, Borer, Harrison and Picard (not really) compete for the 3 other spots (Gleason, Joni, Pothier, Add, +3 = 7).

In goal, Cam and Manny, with Peters working full time in Charlotte.

Focus on special teams and have a goal of the PP being top 5 in NHL.  Take responsibility away from Francis for this critical need. 

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  • I agree with SuckaPunchd; we need to extend Jokinen and lock up Sutter for a few years. 
  • Would like to see Whitney resigned for 1 or 2 years; he still has some left in the tank.

  • I was unimpressed by Picard and don't want to see him resigned.
  • Wouldn't mind seeing Cullen come back for a third tour.

  • It seems unlikely to me that Corvo will come back, especially considering, frankly, McBain fills that hole very nicely.
  • Sign Legace. He's had a fantastic year and I think would be a good veteran to keep in the locker room with this suddenly much younger team. Also, it gives Peters the opportunity to get a full season in Charlotte.
  • On the fence in regards to Pothier. I really like the guy and he has played very well but I'm unsure. So long as we don't overpay him, I don't think there is a bad move here either way.

  • Carson almost seems like a veteran after this season. I was very pleased with his play. 
  • I truly believe McBain has superstar potential - just can't wait to see what he does with his opportunities next season.

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Though it might be nice to move Cole and Samsonov, their contracts will be hard to move (Cole @ 2.9mil; Samsonov @ 2.53mil), so I don't think that will happen unless we get a taker and we absorb some of their contracts. Teams will be hesitant to pick up those kind of contracts, especially Cole who has had injury plagued seasons.

Cole was hurt and only played 40 games and tallied 11g and 4a.

Samsonov played 72 games and tallied 14g and 15a. So if anything, Cole might stay and they may try to move Samsonov.

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Re-post from another thread:

Hey guys, first time posting on these boards... long time fan. I also think we should re-sign Whitney but only to a 1-year deal. I would be down with re-signing Cullen and think we should try to hold onto Pothier.

Anyway, I registered for the boards because I wanted to get some input on a thought I had the other day. I first would like to know what off season signings, other than re-signing old players, everyone would like to see. Be realistic now, we all know we won't sign Kovy or anyone like that. Who could you actually see the Hurricanes organization picking up? I think its fair to say we are lacking a finisher, so my brilliant idea was that we need to sign Hagman! It makes perfect sense, hes an unrestricted free agent, hes not some superstar thats going to want more than we will pay him, and hes Finnish. Seems like a no-brainer to me, what do you guys think?

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Re-post from another thread:

Hey guys, first time posting on these boards... long time fan. I also think we should re-sign Whitney but only to a 1-year deal. I would be down with re-signing Cullen and think we should try to hold onto Pothier.

Anyway, I registered for the boards because I wanted to get some input on a thought I had the other day. I first would like to know what off season signings, other than re-signing old players, everyone would like to see. Be realistic now, we all know we won't sign Kovy or anyone like that. Who could you actually see the Hurricanes organization picking up? I think its fair to say we are lacking a finisher, so my brilliant idea was that we need to sign Hagman! It makes perfect sense, hes an unrestricted free agent, hes not some superstar thats going to want more than we will pay him, and hes Finnish. Seems like a no-brainer to me, what do you guys think?

I'll throw my $.02 in.  He's soon to be 31, so he would have to be something really special to sign him this summer given our current youth movement.  IMO we still need a top flight winger to play with Staal but Hagman falls short of what my expectations would be.   

  

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Isn't Hagman signed with the Flames for  3 million dollar a year through 2012?   He is not a UFA this season unless my sources are incorrect, he just finished the 2nd year of a 4 year contract.

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Isn't Hagman signed with the Flames for  3 million dollar a year through 2012?   He is not a UFA this season unless my sources are incorrect, he just finished the 2nd year of a 4 year contract.

Your right, I just assumed based upon the question he's a UFA.  So, that likely puts that question to rest.  Isn't his father like the first Finnish player to play in the NHL?

  

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I thought the only guy that Calgary got from Toronto in the trade that had a couple years left on his contract was Ian White?  I guess I'm wrong, I'm having a hell of a time trying to think of anyone we can bring in here to score some goals that will fit our stingy budget.  The thought of Hagman got me excited because hes a sauna goer.

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Whatever we do, please please please give Staal something special to work with on the wing. Besides that, I just look forward to the draft and next season.

I could not agree with you more. Listened to JR's entire press conference and only the slightest hint of a move like that. But for us to be really good next year it must be made. Especially since they came clean on Staal's injuries last year. A healthy Staal with a top flight winger would be powerful. I'm not talking elite, but solid first line producer. 

I see a lot to be excited about next year, but there are holes and question marks in key areas. Yes the defense as JR points out, but also in the top 9 forwards. 

First line: Staal cleary, and given his breakout Jussi, but even Jussi is only proven over one year, add a guy like Frolov to firm it up.
Second : Sutter/Ruutu then it gets questionable. Whitney is aging and FA, Samsonov clearly not, and I don't think Cole either.
Third: no center I bring back Cullen/ then two kids: Boychuk/Tlusty?

Of course I see moving Cole and Sammy, so I suppose they could be moved in, but I like moving them, and using the kids in their place. But to do that we really need to firm up the first line, then the rest falls into place.

JR, I know you're reading this: top winger free agent for Staal please.

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Whens the last time JR signed someone who was above decent in the offseason? 2006 and only because the cap was so restrictive those players fell into reasonable contracts.

He only signs fillers in FA. If we're gonna get someone good it's gonna be someone with a already predetermined contract JR can manage and we'll lose someone or something for the guy. Ya'll have followed the team long enough to know JR doesn't do big things in FA.

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^ Agree with Legend. It seems obvious to me that the expectations of next year are not sky high like they were this year. Read: JR is not going to gear up this summer for a cup run. We're reloading. We have no idea what to expect next season with our much, much younger and less experienced team. The young guys have played fantastic this past second half, but it'd be foolish to ignore the no-pressure factor and to also forget the higher pressure that hits every team at the start of a new season. How will they react? How will they perform? When you ask yourself these questions, it increases the risk:reward ratio of a high dollar winger for Staal. In other words, even if that $5/mil winger feeds Staal for 50 goals, will it have been worth it if your team isn't good enough to return to playoffs? Especially in a season where you are coming off a "down" financial year?

Don't hold your breath waiting for that winger. I'm keeping my excitement and wonder focused on our young prospects.

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I agree with legend and hctimo. After losing big $ this year the last thing JR is going to do is spend big on a FA. And if he did he'd be crazy to do it for a forward considering the condition of our defense. Only way it happens is if he finds someone willing to take a couple of guys off our hands, and the odds of that happening with a major plus side return for us are low. The first line is fine when the center shows up, just look at the record from January on to see proof of that. Our biggest gap offensively is still at the blue line (compared to last year).

Next year is a youth movement. Throw em out there and see what happens. Save some money. Maybe they will spend more after next season. And maybe the kids will surprise us.

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I agree with legend and hctimo. After losing big $ this year the last thing JR is going to do is spend big on a FA. And if he did he'd be crazy to do it for a forward considering the condition of our defense. Only way it happens is if he finds someone willing to take a couple of guys off our hands, and the odds of that happening with a major plus side return for us are low. The first line is fine when the center shows up, just look at the record from January on to see proof of that. Our biggest gap offensively is still at the blue line (compared to last year).

Next year is a youth movement. Throw em out there and see what happens. Save some money. Maybe they will spend more after next season. And maybe the kids will surprise us.

I agree, even pre-draft we have a ton of talent in Albany at the forward position.  Let those guys play until they prove they don't belong.  As seems to be the case every off season we need to look at the blue line - maybe we will get Babchuk back!!

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I won't deny that JR generally does not make that big move and he may well not make it. That's too bad because that's what we will need to be good next year. Too much reliance on guys who have not lived up (Cole, Samsonov) and young guys with promise but no history (all of our youth movement) having lost Cullen and Corvo, will not turn out well. 

IF Jussi has another career year, he will be a legit first liner, but who's our other legit first liner to go with Staal and Jussi? 

So, if JR does not get a decent winger we have to either keep Cole and Sammy and hope for the best (we may well end up doing this), or use even more unproven young guys, or decent role players Kosto-LaRose, or a declining 38 year old Whitney.

I wasn't here so please tell me how we got: Whitney, Stillman,  J. Williams. Any of those near their prime would qualify.

No JR is not going to go out and get a Hossa or Kovelchuk, but there are 30 teams with 3 first line forwards. That means that around 100 players are at least playing on first lines in the NHL. Get #60. That'll be fine. It can be a guy who slipped some but still has the skills, more of a JR move.

I know that we need help on the defense, heck JR let them all go. And it is clear that he is focused on defense. But our big gun scoring has gradually and persistently declined. We have gone from:

Staal, Brindy (high producing), Cole (high producing), Stillman (76 pts), J. Williams(76 pts), Whitney (in prime), Cullen.

To:

Staal, Jokinen (career year), Brindy (no comment), Cole (game gone), Ruutu, Sammy (low producing), LaRose (question mark), Sutter.

I love our new guys, but they are unproven and should be on the third line unless one of them breaks out. 

Right now we can count on Staal, Ruutu, Jokinen, and Sutter as legit top 6 point producers. And really only Staal is a potential all-star. That's 4, not 6. Add that one piece at the top and we just need one guy to step up and we're legit from the get go.

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In our shape, I really dont think we could court a playmate for Staal this offseason to be honest with you. Unless it's 2 days before the season and some player was pulling a Seidenberg all offseason and finally realizes what he's worth. I think the winger for Staal project just got pushed an entire season, let the boys build...maybe we got a winger internally that can step up. We don't know that, this next seasons gonna be all about the inner seeking.

Worst thing we can do is rush a rebuild, look at the Glen Sather/Neil Smith Rangers of the 90's he would blow his team up before the deadline say he's gonna rebuild...sign big names and then suck again the next year...repeat...repeat...fired.

Hawks are a shining example of a team that took their time and is going to not be dominant once every 3 seasons...but every season for at least a 4 year stretch.

Balls in JR's court we can either draft high again next season and really fill the team out or rush the thing and be a shot in the dark as to whether or not our gears are gonna turn season to season. I'm fine building the team for a year if I know that's what we're doing....but he's only got a year I want wins again ASAP. smile.gif

Disclaimer: I am not saying to tank next season, however if we properly rebuild and play our youngins we wont likely make the playoffs. That's what I'm saying.

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