A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Happy birthday to our newest Cane

On Tuesday night, the Canes orchestrated a trade with the Preds for veteran winger Scott Walker. Out goes Josef Vasicek. I knew it was coming. I just didn't know where or when. I've been a big JoVa supporter, but I just don't think that the new NHL is for him. At least the new Canes system isn't. He's a big, strong guy who is good at scoring garbage goals, but frankly, he's not good at much else. Speed is not one of his strong points, and defense isn't either. No matter what the scouting reports say, he's too slow and clumsy to be of any discernable defensive value.

It hurt me to say that. Like I say, I really like "The Condor", but he just wasn't fitting in anymore. Towards the end of the regular season, I could start to see the writing on the wall. As the playoffs got rolling, it became painfully obvious that Josef Vasicek's days as a Hurricane were numbered. I made the decision to buy a Viva sweater, which will make its debut on October 4, which happens to be Williams' birthday.

Speaking of birthdays, today (Wednesday) is the 33rd birthday of the newcomer, Scott Walker. I'd like to wish a happy birthday to him as we extend a laurel and a hardy handshake to our new ....

Seriously, and without any further Blazing Saddles references, I'm pretty excited about this. Although Walker is getting up there in age, he should be an exact replacement for Matt Cullen. He's capable of scoring 25+ goals, and could give us something on the order of 60 points if he can stay healthy. In my limited exposure to the Preds, I've been impressed with what I've seen from the guy. Everything that I've heard and read about him indicates that he's a terrific guy to have in the room and a consummate "team" player. He should fit in just fine in Carolina.

Walker is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $1.52M.

In other good Canes news, the Hurricanes signed free agent Shane Willis to a one year deal for $450k. Willis entered the league as a Hurricane in 1998, and was showing a lot of promise as a prospect. In 2001, he had a good regular season, notching 44 points (20/24) in 73 games. In the first round of the playoffs that spring, Willis was crushed by Scott Stevens and was knocked out of the series. Since then, he hasn't really been the same and has had limited NHL experience, most recently with the Bolts during the 03-04 season. He has a two-way contract, and will likely spend most of his days in Albany. I like the Willis thing.

I'm pretty excited about the Walker pickup. I'm not sure what his sweater number will be. He has traditionally worn #24, which is presently worn by Andrew Hutchinson, who is coincidentally also a former Predator.

I hope for big Joe's sake that he can get back into the groove of things. For now, we've made a great tradeoff.


Zanstorm said...

Yeah you'll love Scott Walker. He has a great work ethic, and he's a speedy bulldog.
D-lee, nice pic on top of your page. Lucky bugger!

predguy37 said...

You are going to love Walker on the fore check. He is relentless. If his wrist heals and he stays healthy he will be a beast for you. And he will scrap with the best of them if need be. Great in the locker room. Has leadership in him big time. Good trade for both sides.


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