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IF I were General Manager.....

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Well another season down the drain with no playoffs, I decided to play General Manager. Here is what I came up with.

I'm sorry, but as much as I like Muller's style, it is not working.  His perceived coddling of players' feelings and giving them positive reinforcement approach doesn't work.  I don't know who I'd target as a possible replacement, maybe Mark Morris of Manchester Monarchs. He has helped develop some great players who are now with the Kings and has had a lot of success in the AHL.

While Khudobin has been a great story in the 2013-14 season, there is no guarantee that next season will be the same.  We’ve seen it all over the league where a goalie has a great season one year and falters the following season.  Right now, he is our #1, no arguments on that topic. I know my thoughts of keeping Cam with the team next season is in the minority.  Both goalies were down at points through out this season with injuries and those missed games by both were some of the reasons we didn't make the playoffs. Going into training camp, the net is open and there is a full competition as who will take the #1 spot in net for 2014-15. If Cam wins the job, fine, if Anton does? Fine too. Anton's contract is a low risk, high reward one and Cam's contract has two more years. We've seen glimpses of what might be with both healthy.

That being said, that leaves Peters odd man out.  I wish him well if he decides to look elsewhere for a spot on a NHL roster and not in the AHL. Otherwise, I re-sign him to another stint in Charlotte.

Behind him in Charlotte, we have Mike Murphy and 19 year old Daniel Altshuller in Oshawa. Atlshuller is playing well for the Oshawa Generals, but is a few years off before he is NHL ready.

Joni Pitkanen.
Hope he recovers from his injury and I wish him well on his future hockey endeavors.
J-M Liles. We have him for two more seasons with a NTC contract. Hope next season we see the defenseman that earned him accolades when he was with the Avalanche. Otherwise, find out what team he would accept a trade to and move him.
Andrej Sekera. Hands down was our best defenseman this season.  Hope to see more next season and work on getting him signed to an extension.
Ron Hainsey. A stay at home defenseman and a UFA at the end of the season, I'd like to see him return, but I don't know if we could afford him as there aren't many like him around the league anymore and will garner some attention in the off-season.
Justin Faulk. Signed to a new contract, he has had a sophmorish season slump.  Look to see a better version for next season.
Mike Komisarek. Hope you have luck finding a job in another organization.  His once physical style of play was no where to be seen with the Canes and lack of ice time turned him into a healthy scratch more nights than not.
Brett Bellemore.  First full season with the Canes.  Work on getting him re-signed. Has had more ups then downs this season.
Ryan Murphy. Typically, it takes defenseman more time to learn the NHL game While I like the offensive aspects of his game, he is just too small to be a NHL Defenseman. I'd give him the option of learning to become a forward or tell him he will need to learn his defensive craft with the Checkers next season.
Jay Harrison. He's looked a tad slow this season. Perhaps its time to move him.

While there are serviceable Defenseman with the Checkers, only Liles, Sekera, Harrison and Faulk are scheduled to return next season. If we're able to re-sign Hainsey and/or Bellemore and maybe move Harrison, here are two UFAs I'd be interested in.

Orpik is scheduled to be a UFA at season's end. He is that physical presence that this team lacks. He is a player I'd hate to play against, but would love to have on my team. Schedule to garner around 4 mil next season. Maybe too rich, but worth a run at.
Nikita Nikitin from Columbus is another young defenseman would garner my interest. Hard on the puck and solid in his own end. Sign him at about 2.5mil next season.

Eric Staal.
  Worst season since his rookie season statistically.  I don't know if he is still hurt from last summer's world cup, he was not the same player this season as in season's past. I would tell him to expect not to be the Captain next season and if he wants to be moved, I would oblige. Would possibly use him and our projected #6 draft pick this season to move up if needed. Otherwise, he would have to earn his ice time with this team.
Jordan Staal.  I think his biggest hang up is playing second/third fiddle.  We've seen his play step up when he was with the Penguins when Crosby and/or Malkin were out for extended periods of time and we saw it when Eric went down with injuries. I would build the team around him. He is more physical than Eric.  He would be my choice to replace Eric as Captain.
Alex Semin. While he has improved some in the defensive zone, I don't expect him to become a top notch two way forward. Handle your responsibilities in the defensive zone and be the high end play maker we know you are.
Jeff Skinner.  SEE ALEX SEMIN!
Jiri Tlusty.  A RFA at season’s end.  On the fence about him.  I’d make him a qualifying offer, but if he receives a better one from another team, I’d let him walk.
Elias Lindholm.  Slowly becoming a possible good NHL player.  Have really liked his play of late with Skinner and Nash.
Patrick Dwyer.  Once more season left on his contract.  A good player who can play in different situations.
Riley Nash. Low risk.
Andrej Loktionov. If he doesn‘t make the jump to the KHL, I‘d re-sign him to a 2 year deal.
Manny Malholtra.  If another team doesn‘t try to snatch him up, I‘d re-sign him to a 2 year deal.  
Drayson Bowman.  Not real sure about him.  Pretty much stuck on the fourth line, he did see some time as a TOP 6 forward. If another team makes a better offer, I‘d let him go.
Radek Dvorak.  Gone.
Nathan Gerbe.  If another team doesn’t try to snatch him up, I’d re-sign him to a 2 year deal.

If Loktionov, Malholtra, Dvorak, Bowman, Tlusty and Gerbe are all gone and we trade Eric.  I’d fill those holes with bringing up Terry and Boychuk and going after RFA Brandon Sutter to complete our TOP 9 forwards.  Then work on finding a solid fourth grind line.That makes our forward lines:


1st Line Semin/Jordan/Draft Pick Nicholas Ritchie
2nd Line Boychuk/Terry/Sutter
3rd Line Skinner/Lindholm/Nash
4th Line Dwyer/???/???

Defensive Pairings:








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Well, Jussi just scored his 20th goal this season with the Pens...considering he's buried deep on the 3/4 line most of the season, this is impressive.


What's more impressive is how he's outscored Brandon Sutter and we dumped him for a bag of pucks.


Another product of Kirk's misusing the players' talents!

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Emotion are high and disappointment is great but lets respect each other


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One thing is painfully true for whoever is the next GM. There is no help in Charlotte ready to step in next season and make a difference. That is something that has to be addressed.

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I think you either change the coach, or change team leadership, but you don't necessarily have to do both.  If the next GM likes Muller's style, rearrange the roster to make sure the players buy into it.


The first indication I will get about the likelihood of the next GM resurrecting the franchise will be the draft.  If they value the combination of size AND skill, something I do not believe Rutherford did, I will be encouraged.  

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