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

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Scott Walker crossroads

Scott Walker is scheduled to become an UFA on July 1. The Carolina Hurricanes have entered negotiations with him, and have left an offer on the table. Unfortunately, the offer (rumored to be 3 years at $2M per year) isn't quite what Walker and his agent are looking for.

For some reason, it only occurred to me about a week ago that this crossroads (Scott Avenue and Walker Avenue) exists here in Greensboro. It's a corner I've passed many times, as I used to live three blocks from there, but for some reason the thought never crossed my mind. This is the perfect opportunity to point to that corner.

According to Luke Decock, in yesterdays N&O, Jim Rutherford and Walker's agent Pat Morris have reached somewhat of an impasse. They're both talking about 3 years. Carolina is talking about $2M. Whether it's the money, or some other terms of contract, Morris is not going to talk about $2M. On Thursday, he said
Right now we've got a difference of opinion on value.
but then added:
by today's number's it's close.

Maybe we're talking about something like $400k. Maybe we're talking about a no-trade clause. Maybe we're talking about a player option after two seasons. Maybe we're talking about letting him wear an A on his sweater. Who knows. Apparently, the sides are close, but not close enough.

An interesting side bit is that Morris suggests that there's a "gentleman's agreement" wherein if Walker isn't as valuable as he thinks he is, Carolina will take him back. I'm not sure that Rutherford has that in mind. It seems like he's saying that Carolina will look elsewhere if Walker doesn't re-sign.
"We'd like to have Scott back," Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said. "That's really our preference. But at the same time, if he's not signed prior to July 1, we're not going to stand in line and wait for everyone to sign somewhere else. We're going to use our money to get the best player we can."

So.... What kind of player should Carolina be looking for?

It's a widely held belief that Buffalo will re-sign Chris Drury and let Danny Briere become an UFA. Carolina can't afford $6M, which is about what he'll get.

After Carolina takes care of the re-signings of Cam Ward and the ancient defenseman Glen Wesley, Carolina will probably only have around $5M to play with. Re-sign David Tanabe at around $1.3, and they've got $3.7M. The Hurricanes won't be able to get a high profile player with that kind of dough.

There's a few names being mentioned as players Carolina should covet. One that sounds good to me is Taylor Pyatt. After spending four seasons with the Sabres, Pyatt began to blossom with the Canucks this season. He tallied 37(23/14) regular season points including NINE power play goals and four game-winners. He also had six (2/4)points in the playoffs.
At 6'4" and 227 pounds, Pyatt is a behemoth of a man, and at 25 years of age, he's probably only going to get better. He could be another Erik Cole. But bigger.

Pyatt made $700K in 2006-07. He will certainly be due a raise wherever he goes. The Nucks will have to concentrate on getting Brent Sopel re-signed, then they have to get their forward lines filled. They have just seven forwards under contract for next season, including Ryan Kessler, who signed a three-year deal yesterday. I'm not sure that Vancouver will have enough money to re-sign Pyatt with a raise.

There are certainly some other players on the Hurricanes radar, but I think Pyatt would be the best fit, and a good value.

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