On Friday, the Hurricanes signed multi-year contracts with two players I previously thought had limited futures with the club.
Andrew Hutchinson, who was a depth-providing player on the blue line this season, was signed to a two-year deal. The first year, he will get $450k, and the second he will get $500k. Because of injuries that forced him to miss 25 games, and a number of healthy scratch situations, Hutch played in 36 games. He did not make the lineup in any of the SCF games (or any of the playoffs for that matter) and does not meet the criterion for getting his name etched on the Cup. Nonetheless, he tallied 11 points (3/8), which was a career best. It was also good enough to win the Jes Golbez hot dog with cheese bet. Because of his offensive upside, and what certainly looks like a different blue line makeup next season, Hutch will probably see some increased playing time. I'm having a hard time piecing together the pairings, but I'm assuming that Wesley will retire. So, too, may Hedican.
The other, slightly more important news is that Craig Adams was given three years at $600K per year. Last summer, the Canes let him walk, he was picked up by the Ducks in free agency, then traded back to the Canes in October for Bruno St. Jacques. At the time, I thought the move was suspect, and I pictured CrAdams playing for Lowell. He started off there, but rejoined the big team, where the Adams family was reunited. In this post, from last October 4, I correctly predicted he would "contribute maybe 20 points if he plays on the big team." He had 21 (10/11). The other part is what I had wrong. I guessed his role would be "agitator", but even after we disposed of Jesse Boulerice (which I also correctly guessed in that post), we never really had anyone in that role. The "new" NHL sort of cancelled the need for that. Note that Edmonton doesn't have much interest in keeping "Le GG" Laraque around. There just isn't room anymore for a guy whose only value is fighting.
Anyway, Craiggers was a very important part of the team, and his chemistry with Kevyn Adams and Sharpie. Jim Rutherford has already promised to "match any offer" on LaRose, and K-Ads still has one year on his contract, so our fourth line will be intact.
Things are looking pretty decent, even with the inevitable departure of Mark Recchi and Doug Weight. As long as Matt Cullen gets signed, and we pick up a free agent or two, the forward lines will be okay.
Nic Wallin is allegedly going back to Sweden, and Glen Wesley is surely retiring. That leaves Aaron Ward as the only UFA defenseman we need to sign.
Our glaring needs at the present time are: two decent wingers, one defenseman, and one "backup" goaltender. At some point during that "backup" will become Kevin Nastiuk, but he still needs some time in Albany.
3 years ago