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

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ruutu signs; Tanabe and Hamilton clear

On Tuesday, David Tanabe and Jeff Hamilton both cleared waivers. The Hurricanes will set the buy-out ball in motion. Tanabe will have to be examined and deemed healthy before this can take place, but the Hurricanes are taking the position that he is in fact healthy.
Jeff Hamilton seemed like a nice guy, and he got off to a roaring start here. However, after he settled down, things just weren't working. After notching 12 (4/8) points in the first 15 games of the season, he only mustered 12 (5/7) in the next 44 games. He also spent some time in the press box and some time soldiering away up in Albany. He had nine (3/6) points in nine games with the River Rats. Sadly, he and his smoky visor won't be back in Raleigh.

Tanabe's health continues to be a mystery. While I have certainly suggested that he's milking the injury for all (or more than) it's worth this move has nothing to do with Tanabe's injury. The CBA is quite clear about buying out injured players. Even when healthy, Tanabe would be scratched while guys like Tim Conboy were recalled from Albany.

Fortunately, fans of Tuomo Ruutu were able to finally stop holding their breath. Sort of. Today, he was signed to one of those dreaded one-year contracts. He'll get $2.25M. Ostensibly, this was done because it was, as Luke put it "the path of least resistance". The two sides have been unable to find a common ground on salary and duration of contract, so they just did this to get something done. Next July 1, he will be eligible to become a RFA. That aspect of the deal works out better for Carolina, but they had to pay a little more up front than they really wanted to.

After being acquired via trade with the Blackhawks, Ruutu quickly became a crowd favorite and he put up 11 (4/7) points in 17 games.

Coincidentally, Andrew Ladd (whom Ruutu was traded for) re-signed with the 'Hawks yesterday. In 20 games with Chicago, Ladd notched 12 (5/7) points. He was signed to a two-year deal, which will pay him $1.45M in 08-09 and $1.65M in 09-10.

With Ruutu signed and Hambone gone, Carolina still has 10 forwards and four defensemen signed. I suppose Chad LaRose will be the next to re-sign. Then defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. There are several free agents-to-be who need to be signed for Albany's sake, but they are all RFAs, so there's really no rush.

After LaRose and Seidenberg, the next order of business will be to wait till July 1, then go after a name-brand blueliner in the FA market. It's pretty much a foregone conclusion that Brandon Sutter will be the last piece of the puzzle, and he'll be snapped (forced) into place after the pre-season exhibition games.

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