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

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Another puzzle piece snaps into place

In a week of very boring Canes-related news, the latest is that goaltender Michael Leighton has been signed to a two-year NHL contract.

This move has been expected since about the middle of February, and it has finally come to pass. Leighton, who just turned 27, will make $600k, which is a savings of $800k from what they were paying Johnny Crackers.

Leighton was the best goaltender in the AHL in 2007-08, going 28-25-4 with a GAA of 2.10 and a save percentage of .931. He won the Aldege "Baz" Bastien award as the league's top netminder. He set an AHL record with 98 saves in a five-overtime loss in the Calder Cup playoffs. He also appeared in three games for the Canes, going 1-1-0.

This totally expected signing snaps another puzzle piece into place.

Carolina has two goaltenders, ten forwards and three defensemen signed for next season. The defense is the number one priority right now. The deal with Tim Gleason that was alleged to be "close" a few weeks ago has stalled. RBH is hoping that the two sides can agree to a long-term contract, but we're fearing that these negotiations will culminate in a one-year deal. We don't like one-year deals.

If both Gleason and Dennis Seidenberg are re-signed, there still leaves one spot to be filled. There continues to be loads of speculation that the Hurricanes are interested in John-Michael Liles. He is scheduled to become a UFA on July 1, and will probably have lots of suitors.

Brooks Orpik is slated to become a UFA and the word on the street is that the Pens won't be making extra effort to keep him. There are a lot of fans in Carolina who still aren't ready to let the Cole-Orpik thing go, but even the most unforgiving person would have to admit that Orpik is a good, tough defenseman that most teams would be happy to have.

Nashville's Shea Weber is a RFA-to-be worth pondering. I don't see a whole lot of other interesting (and affordable) options in the FA market.

Of course there's still loads of talk about moving one of the "extra" forwards for a high-profile defenseman in a trade. One rumor that has popped up is sending Erik Cole to the Canucks for defenseman Kevin Bieksa. I haven't studied the pros and cons of that one, but I do know that Bieksa just signed a three-year deal worth $11.25M.

The draft is just nine days away, then the FA period ten days after that.

Is it October yet?

1 comment:

Bill Purdy said...

I still have the phone message from Brooks' mom, Liz, that she left for me whilst partying in celebration of the BC D-I hockey national championship a couple months ago... in which she invites me to her house for macaroni and cheese whenever I want it.

I kid you not -- remind me to play it for you next time I see you.


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