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Canes 2010 general off season talk

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I'm all about rebuilding. I'm just asking for one guy. Can even be a bit of a project. A guy getting no love a'la when we got Stillman. If we have offloaded Corvo, and Cullen, and then offload Whitney, Cole and Sammy, is there not enough room in the budget for a lowish end first line winger? Maybe not. On the other hand, what's the $ value of making the playoffs? Might be worth it. Not to mention the value to our young players of seeing the playoffs early on.

I do agree that if this team does not get that guy we will not be looking at the playoffs probably. You never know, if everything breaks right and the young'uns all proceed ahead of schedule, but probably not.

So where are all those who wanted to throw away our top draft pick for a run at the playoffs this year? You all willing to go another year of losing and no playoffs? Everyone who thought it was so important for our young guys to get that winning feeling? What about a bad year next year? I know that fan expectations are different, but losing is losing.

Shore up the defense, add that one guy to the top line and the playoffs are likely. Don't listen to them JR!

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Lacking time for further deep analysis, I'll just point out that everyone thought the Coyotes and Avalanche - young unproven teams - were going to blow this year. wink.gif

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Lacking time for further deep analysis, I'll just point out that everyone thought the Coyotes and Avalanche - young unproven teams - were going to blow this year. wink.gif
I will admit this. If all of the pieces fall together, this team could excel without the top winger. But it is far less likely. We would need:

At least 3 of the River Rat crew to fill out as top 9 guys (or 2 plus our first rounder from this year) and at least two to pop into the top 6.
At least one of Cole or Sammy to get way closer to their best years.
LaRose to get back to near 20 goals (still not an assist guy even then).
Whitney to stay and defy age.
Get Cullen back. 
 
It does appear that JR is not looking in the direction of a top winger and other than bringing Cole back has not had much inclination to do so since the cup year, but I maintain that this one guy in exchange for Whitney, Cole, Sammy, and Brindy added to our core and our youth and we're seriously competitive up front next year (still need defensive rework).  I hold out hope (as I have for a few years now) that he can find this guy at least as a hidden gem type pick up.

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I think JR's conference was very interesting. It really didn't sound as though he expected to make a lot of moves offensively. He mentioned several times the need to improve the D.

He also indicated that the team wasn't profitable, and so that would likely mean a lower budget in 2010-2011. Which may mean trying to make a splash in FA is unlikely.

Now, that being said, I think there are some possible avenues to make a move in FA. Frolov's name gets bandied about around here, and while I guess that's a possibility I could also see a Lee Stempniak or a Colby Armstrong as being on our radar.

The Lines -

Staal is the #1 center. Let's all hope he can stay healthy. But who plays with him? I think the Juice deserves a shot at playing on the 1st line consistently; let's see if that 30 goal season was a fluke... he's in a contract year, so it's a big season for Jokinen to prove whether he's going to get legit 1st line money. Who plays on the other side? I seriously think that if JR is restricted budget-wise that you'll see LaRose there. Before everyone throws a fit, you have to admit that 1, LaRose finished the season strong and 2, LaRose brings energy to any line he plays on. When he played with Cullen in the playoffs last year the two of them were remarkable. Now the last week of the season or so he and Staal really clicked together. So if JR doesn't do anything in FA, I can seriously see LaRose - Staal - Jokinen as our Game 1 1st line.

Sutter is the #2 center. Great season. Hopefully we'll see him bulk up a little bit and continue to grow. Ruutu will be on one side, but like Staal's line I think the other wing is up in the air. Do we re-sign Whitney? Does Boychuk or Bowman or Tlusty or some other Rat really kick it in training camp and jump into a top 6 spot? Does JR go out and sign a guy that can be a top 6 guy? If JR signs someone to play on Staal's line, then I can see LaRose/Jokinen being slotted here.

#3 center is up for grabs. Boychuk played some center in the last week of the season, and I would guess that was an audition of sorts. I think serious consideration will be made to bringing back Cullen. I like the idea, as long as it's a 2 year deal, max. If not Matt, then I think we have a big ? here... maybe Boychuk, maybe Zac Dalpe continues his meteoric ascension. On the wings, I think JR and Mo would love for Cole to somehow stay healthy and be one of the guys here. As much as I'd like to move Cole, there's no way he's going anywhere making $2.9m next year... and I suspect we won't want to consider another buyout. I think the other spot is open for a Rat. You've got quite a few of them with Tlusty, Samson, Osala, etc.

4th line... I think K-Stop is perfect for this line. He's a younger Scott Walker. I think Sammy winds up here if we can't move him (and at $2.5m that will be difficult). Yes, he's an expensive 4th line guy, but if we can't move him, then he's capable of getting you 15 goals from the 4th line, which ain't bad. I think Dwyer is the center.

On D, you've got Pitkanen, Gleason, McBain and Carson as solids. The other 2 are up for grabs. JR said some nice things about Harrison and his grit during the press conference. I can see Jay on the 3rd pairing. JR also talked about Babchuk, but I had the feeling he talked about him in a way that suggested if he could get him back to the US then he could use him in a trade. Rodney, Picard, Borer are other possibilities. But I don't think JR would have harped on the D so much during his press conference if he didn't anticipate making more of a splash here. I also think Pothier was solid and his exit interview was promising. I could see us re-signing him for 1 year at a lower price to man the 3rd line with Harrison. But to be honest, I really got the impression from JR's conference that there would be more of a shake-up on the blue line. Just shuffling what we have in the system doesn't seem like it helps us out. Pitkanen is coming into the last year of his contract at $4m+... does anyone see JR potentially trading him?

Final question: JR was very high on having the 7th overall pick, obviously has someone in mind, and mentioned that he thought this player could make the club in the fall. Anyone want to venture a guess? Niederreiter? Connolly? Those guys are both wingers... I don't think JR would have been so confident about Gudbranson or Gormley because either of those guys is likely gone by the 7th pick.

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So all are very correct about JR and not making big moves...remkin and I already know it as well...but we can dream can't we? Like what if Tampa wants to dump St. Louis or somebody? They are definitely going to be making some major changes. We could SO use him with Staal...yes it'd be expensive but dang is a guy like that worth it.

However, I also understand what everybody else is saying, and I certainly trust JR to make sound moves that work for the future of the team. I will say though that I expect us to contend for a playoff spot next year. After seeing what could be done this year, there's no reason we can't make a solid run next year as long as injuries don't strike too bad again. Rebuilding does take a year or two, but it doesn't mean a team has to suck it up. Good rebuilding can maintain winning.

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I think the last 3 line is pretty much set with younger players

Frolov-Staal-Jokinen

Ruutu-Sutter-Cole

Bowman-Boychuk-Tlusty

Larose-Kostopoulus-Dwyer

Pitkanen-Gleason

Babchuk-FA  (Seidenberg or Hamhuis)  Mara would be the last choice

Mcbain-Picard

Its times for JR to make a a big purchase in the market.  With the river rats (now checkers) filling some roster spots, we need to get a player that can help out Staal.  I wouldnt mind trading Cole to make the team younger.  If we do that then jokinen takes his spot on the 2nd line.  Would need another top winger though.  Babs needs to come back.  Mcbain has done very well for the team but it has only been for a couple of games.  The organization is now deep and the last D line and 4 forward spots are up for grabs.  We know how JR loves to make trades.  How about trying to get Chris Stewart from Colorado.  We have enough depth and picks to get him I believe.  I dont see Colorado trading him unless they have trouble re-signing him. 

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I would take a page on a guy like Jokinen to be a top 6 forward in a trade or FA, underperforming but with talent.  I like Sammy and Cole, but they aren't top 6 guys anymore and we have young guys to fill out the third line.  I think we'll see Boychuck/McBain both make the team out of camp and maybe Bowman.  Dalpe is a wild card.  Very young, but scoring at a VERY nice pace.  

Top 6 forward/defensive minded defenseman would be the FA signings I'd want.  I think McBain replaces Corvo, and I wouldn't mind a 3rd pairing of a solid defensive minded d-man plus someone like Babchuck with Rodney or Borer being the 7th guy.  

Signing back Cullen brings stability to the 3rd line, but it would be nice to see a 3rd line made up of Rats and see what they can do.  Boychuck/Bowman/Tlusty comes to mind, but I'm not sure I love the idea of Boychuck being a full time center.

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I think the last 3 line is pretty much set with younger players

Frolov-Staal-Jokinen

Ruutu-Sutter-Cole

Bowman-Boychuk-Tlusty

Larose-Kostopoulus-Dwyer

Pitkanen-Gleason

Babchuk-FA  (Seidenberg or Hamhuis)  Mara would be the last choice

Mcbain-Picard

Its times for JR to make a a big purchase in the market.  With the river rats (now checkers) filling some roster spots, we need to get a player that can help out Staal.  I wouldnt mind trading Cole to make the team younger.  If we do that then jokinen takes his spot on the 2nd line.  Would need another top winger though.  Babs needs to come back.  Mcbain has done very well for the team but it has only been for a couple of games.  The organization is now deep and the last D line and 4 forward spots are up for grabs.  We know how JR loves to make trades.  How about trying to get Chris Stewart from Colorado.  We have enough depth and picks to get him I believe.  I dont see Colorado trading him unless they have trouble re-signing him. 

I like everything here except I think LaRose is too good to be on the 4th line, and I don't believe Bowman is ready.

JR also suggested that the player they draft this year could very possibly be in the line-up next year.

I love the idea of going after Frolov for a few reasons. 1) Staal needs that top line winger, 2) He would sell jerseys, 3) Acquiring him would show the fans that we ARE not looking at this next season as just STRICTLY a rebuilding season, but that we can compete for the cup - in affect, selling more tickets. Besides, aren't there all of these rumors that JR has wanted Frolov for a while now? 

Cole is not a top 6 winger, and I believe would be good trade bait for moving up in the draft.

And I agree completely with bring Babchuk back, but he would have to be in the 5 or 6 spot.

  

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I would agree with your assessment on Cole not being a top 6 guy anymore.  The only thing is if JR moves him and Samsonov, Jokinen would take over the 2nd wing and JR would still need another top winger.  Of course Whitney could fill that spot if he decides to re-sign with us.  If not there are a couple of young RFAs that JR could try to acquire.  Maybe the a trade with samsonov, young winger prospect, and pick

The only reason i put Babs top 4 is because I have picard and mcbain the last line.  Babs has more experience than both. 

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Frolov is good people, but not THAT good. He is not the first line savior that so many are making him out to be. We need a Gaborik (look how well he did once out of MIN), not a Frolov.

Just sayin'.

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We have seen McBain in 8 games.  We havent seen enough of him to say his is a 1st line guy.  He needs to get more experience. 

Yes frolov is no first line savior but we dont need a 1st line savior.  We need a guy that can move puck and put points on his score sheet.  We dont have the money to pay for another 6 mil+ player.  Frolov have 51 points with Stoll as his center.  If he comes to the Canes then he'll have Staal.  I could see a +10 in points. I want say much more right now as with being the 1st line he will see the best defenders although he'll be playing with more talent.

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Frolov is good people, but not THAT good. He is not the first line savior that so many are making him out to be. We need a Gaborik (look how well he did once out of MIN), not a Frolov.

Just sayin'.

Well, Gaborik got benched going down the stretch in NY. He started out hot and racked up points early. I didn't see that many Ranger games this year so I have no idea why he got benched.

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From the new article that is out today about JR having defensive options, it doesn't sound like we are going to be looking outside of our organization when it comes to forming our defense for the beginning of the season. This means that we will most likely have a combination of Gleason, McBain, Pitkanen, Babchuk, Carson, Harrison, Pothier, and Picard. I just don't think we have a solid 2nd pairing defenseman there that can play along with Pitkanen.

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From the new article that is out today about JR having defensive options, it doesn't sound like we are going to be looking outside of our organization when it comes to forming our defense for the beginning of the season. This means that we will most likely have a combination of Gleason, McBain, Pitkanen, Babchuk, Carson, Harrison, Pothier, and Picard. I just don't think we have a solid 2nd pairing defenseman there that can play along with Pitkanen.

It will be really sad if that is the case.  JR is a great GM but he doesnt seem to ever learn from any mistakes.  He saw how the team fell off after the last cup run, then the run 2 seasons ago and he made the same mistake.  That mistake is he being ok with sticking with the roster we have.  JR missed out on a great opportunity to get a 2nd line Dman for real cheap last off season.  He needs to do that this season.  The team has some depth but its young depth.  Seidenberg wont be cheap but he would a great fit.  I think Pitkanen, Gleason, Babs and Picards are given.  We have only seen a couple games out of McBain so he is still very raw.  On top of that we didnt play any pressure games with young talent of Dmen that we have.  We have no idea how these young guys preform under pressure. 

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From the new article that is out today about JR having defensive options, it doesn't sound like we are going to be looking outside of our organization when it comes to forming our defense for the beginning of the season. This means that we will most likely have a combination of Gleason, McBain, Pitkanen, Babchuk, Carson, Harrison, Pothier, and Picard. I just don't think we have a solid 2nd pairing defenseman there that can play along with Pitkanen. 
I took from what I read that JR has McBain in his top four.  He's under contract so pencil in Gleason, McBain, and Pitkanen.  It looks like JR has Babchuk in his sights for the other top-4 spot.  That saves money because Pothier wouldn't necessarily go for as cheap as Babchuk will likely sign for.  That leaves 3 spots.  Picard and Carson are RFA's, while Harrison is a UFA.  JR likes Harrison's size and physical play so I think he will try and sign Harrison.  Complicating things are the draft if either Gudbranson, Fowler or Gromley fall to number 7.

So, what does the organization do with Borer, Rodney and Conboy?

And it also looks like we won't be signing anyone early in free agency.  So much for that scoring touch on the top line, unless we get a project later in the summer.

  

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Why in the world would we even consider bringing Picard back? He's absolutly awful. Im more than okay with filling out our bottom 6 forwards with the Rats because you can get away with having a young inexperienced offensive team and make the playoffs but still with that we are going to need almost all of them to have great years. Look at Phoenix and Colorado. However at very least we need to fill out our defence without just filling it out with players from the organization. I really want a scoring line winger for Staal, but rebuilding the defence should come first priority. I can accept Pitkanen, Gleason, Mcbain being in the top 4. I DO NOT want Babchuk back in our top 4, neither do I want Pothier. The team needs to get Dan Hamhuis to play with Pitkanen. If Pothier re-signs cheap then put him on the 3rd pairing with Carson.

Pitkanen - Hamhuis

Gleason - Mcbain

Pothier - Carson.

Thats a solid d-corps and it CAN be accomplished and JR needs to go out and do something big rather than just settling every year and using 'what we've got' to put together a borderline defence corps that ends up falling apart and then has us fans complaining. It seems like our expectations drop everytime for our offseason. We dont need to go into the year with expectations to win the Stanley Cup but I think we should go into the offseason with higher expectations to do more than just 'fill out' the roster with some Rats and borderline top 4 defencemen.

Our offence will be shaky if we dont get that first line winger, but as long as we fill out the top 6 with other decent parts we may struggle to score but with good goaltending and if we can, a good defence we will make the playoffs. If we go into next year with a team like that, you cant say that Colorado who made it this year was even close to that calibre, and in a weaker conference there is no reason we shouldnt make the playoffs.

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Why in the world would we even consider bringing Picard back? He's absolutly awful. Im more than okay with filling out our bottom 6 forwards with the Rats because you can get away with having a young inexperienced offensive team and make the playoffs but still with that we are going to need almost all of them to have great years. Look at Phoenix and Colorado. However at very least we need to fill out our defence without just filling it out with players from the organization. I really want a scoring line winger for Staal, but rebuilding the defence should come first priority. I can accept Pitkanen, Gleason, Mcbain being in the top 4. I DO NOT want Babchuk back in our top 4, neither do I want Pothier. The team needs to get Dan Hamhuis to play with Pitkanen. If Pothier re-signs cheap then put him on the 3rd pairing with Carson.

Pitkanen - Hamhuis

Gleason - Mcbain

Pothier - Carson.

Thats a solid d-corps and it CAN be accomplished and JR needs to go out and do something big rather than just settling every year and using 'what we've got' to put together a borderline defence corps that ends up falling apart and then has us fans complaining. It seems like our expectations drop everytime for our offseason. We dont need to go into the year with expectations to win the Stanley Cup but I think we should go into the offseason with higher expectations to do more than just 'fill out' the roster with some Rats and borderline top 4 defencemen.

Our offence will be shaky if we dont get that first line winger, but as long as we fill out the top 6 with other decent parts we may struggle to score but with good goaltending and if we can, a good defence we will make the playoffs. If we go into next year with a team like that, you cant say that Colorado who made it this year was even close to that calibre, and in a weaker conference there is no reason we shouldnt make the playoffs.

I think the draft is a wild-card here.  If we go D and can get Cam Fowler, Gudbransen or Gromley, anyone of those players could make the team.  If that plays out and we sign Babchuk (another wild card), Pothier is gone.  Not a Picard fan either.  So I see Gleason, Pitkanen, McBain, Babchuk, Carson, Harrison, and a drafted defenseman as another possibility.  I would hate to see the organization not resign Borer, but it will be interesting to see if the bus crash plays into his status.

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If anyone is waiting to see what's going to happen with Ray Whitney you better sit tight.  I just heard the second half of his interview on XM a short time ago and he was very clear that his potential new contract has nothing to do with Rod Brind'Amour's career decision and has everything to do with waiting till the draft is over and seeing what kind of money JR has to work with come July 1st.  He used the words "we" and "us" and "me and Jimmy" several times which sounded as if he still considers himself a Hurricane moving forward, at least for now.  He did say that the payroll will likely go down and the team's goal is to get younger but also that a lot will happen between now and July 1st that will determine what happens for him.

He was excited about playing in the World's to get a chance to play with top young players like Stamkos and Tavares but more importantly, it gives him the opportunity to keep skating so he'll be ready to go in August without the long 5 1/2 month layoff.  He said it was better for a guy his age to keep skating to maintain his level of conditioning rather than to take too much time off and have to recondition late in the summer.

Imo if he has a good World's tournament, his value will increase and make re-signing him here in Raleigh a little tougher.  Although if he wants to be here as he says he does, it could help his case to get more time or money from JR too.  Since I only caught the last part of the interview, I could be way off base with my summary based on what was said in the first half.  wink.gif

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Well Fowler and other draft Dmen are great but I dont know that any could make our roster.  Young dmen have too much to learn to step on the ice right out of the draft. 

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^^ Why do people always say this like it's an absolute fact? Every year there are dmen that make the NHL from the draft. Hedman was the only one last year but 2008 had 3 or 4. Sounds like 3 or 4 this year are likely. If you always skip dmen you will have to get them from somewhere else and that costs $. Get a solid rookie and even with a year of seasoning he comes up faster and makes an impact sooner on lower cost. It's not that risky when you are in the top 10, beyond that is a different story.

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[quote name='coastal_caniac wrote:


jeromeo87']And it also looks like we won't be signing anyone early in free agency.  So much for that scoring touch on the top line, unless we get a project later in the summer.

  

If JR was thinking about trying to get someone from free agency, like one of ours that he traded (ie.Corvo, Cullen), he wouldn't talk

about it now because those players belong to another team right now, and will until July 1.

Last year he wasn't going to sign anyone in the "early free agency frenzy" either, and ended up negotiating with both Rosie's and Cole's

agents after July 1. Remember ?

Bottom line---we will likely have to wait until late June, early July to get a better picture of what next year's team will look like.

  

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