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

Sunday, April 15, 2007

"The Wizard" to stay in Raleigh

On Friday afternoon, the Hurricanes checked off the most important item on the "summer to-do list". Ray Whitney was re-signed to a three year deal which will pay him $3.55M per season. This past season, Whitney posted a career high 83 points (32/51). He earned a bargain basement $1.5M paycheck from the Hurricanes and also received $1.2M from the Red Wings as part of their 2005 contract buy-out.

I was away all weekend (in a wedding, and piss-babbling drunk the whole time), unable to get hockey news (other than scores), so I have a lot of catching up to do. This was a very good thing to come home to.

Although both sides were clear about wanting to keep Whitney in Raleigh, there was still some anxiety among the natives. Whitney was slated to become an UFA on July 1, and would have been one of the hottest commodities. There was some speculation that he would get offers in the $4M + range, but neither side wanted to waste time getting re-signed.

The Caniac Nation is breathing a collective sigh of relief as the fan favorite is locked in at what is still a very good price.

Next, the Canes need to focus on getting Scott "Remo" Walker re-signed. He earned $1.52M last season after being acquired from Nashville, and he tallied 51 points (21/30). The 33-year old, who quickly became another fan favorite here, can expect to make about $2M next season.

Josef Vasicek and Anson Carter are also on the "to do" list, but with them, it's not nearly as pressing. Anson Carter wouldn't be missed. "Big Joe" would be missed, but only for sentimental reasons. Both players are replaceable.

Glen Wesley will most likely retire (although I said that last summer, too) and Bret Hedican will most likely not exercise his player option. His back/knees/ "lower body" can't take it anymore.

Carolina will have to get some defense and a third line center out of free agency. They will need to get defensemen and goalies in the draft. The cupboard is exceptionally bare in our minor league system.

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