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

Monday, June 04, 2007

Hurricanes to move on without Walker

I guess you can say it's official that the Carolina Hurricanes are done with Scott Walker.

An article in today's News & Observer covers the fact that there are just a few pieces remaining in the Hurricanes puzzle. It points out that Walker has rejected offers from the Hurricanes, but does not suggest ongoing negotiations. The subtle suggestions over the last week are that the Hurricanes have made a final offer. In part, and in a nutshell, the article says:
"That leaves only the decisions on David Tanabe and Josef Vasicek, both potential free agents."

Luke Decock suggests that the Hurricanes have a few names on a shortlist for filling the third line center position. That shortlist consists of Todd White from the Wild, Michal Handzus from the Blackhawks and Mike Peca from the Leafs. Peca and Handzus both had significant injuries last season, forcing them to miss huge chunks of the season. They're both still serviceable, but at their age, and at Peca's price tag, you have to wonder if it's worth it. Like "Bubba" from Canes Country, I'm pretty into the idea of Todd White. He could be had for under $2M, and he had good third line numbers last season, amassing 44 (13/31) points and a +8 in 77 games. I say go for it.

It still leaves the right wing question up in the air. Now that Taylor Pyatt has re-signed with the Nucks, the UFA market is about dry. I like Scott Cason's idea about Jason Blake. I hadn't really thought about it until I read his post, but it's a fantastic idea. Again, he could be had for less than $2M (probably right around $1.75), and he's coming off a very good 69 point (40/29) season with the Isles.

Neither Todd White nor Jason Blake is a spring chicken, but they're both good players and could be valuable additions to the third line, which struggled all season in 2006-07.

The Hurricanes have around $5M to play with, and if they get one or the other of these guys (or hopefully BOTH) for around $1.75M for one year, they should be in good shape. If defenseman David Tanabe re-signs with a home team discount, it'll make a guy like Andrew Hutchinson expendable. There was some talk late in the season that the Oilers were interested in Hutch, so maybe we could enter negotiations with them for a depth guy.

There would still be around a million and a half to pick up at least one more winger. All this would fit under the Hurricanes self-imposed budget of $45M.

Who's got any thoughts on this matter?

Oh. Game four of the Stanley Cup Finals is tonight.

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