Around the League

Checking in on the Carolina Hurricanes

Hurricanes great Ron Francis replaces Jim Rutherford as general manager

Last year: 36-35-11, seventh in the Metro Division. Missed the postseason by 10 points.

Key additions: Tim Gleason, Jay McClement, Brad Malone

Key subtractions: Andrei Loktionov, Justin Peters, Manny Malhotra, Drayson Bowman (likely), Radek Dvorak (likely), Mike Komisarek (likely), Joni Pitkanen (likely)

Franchise direction: Like the Penguins and Capitals, Carolina elected to oust its coach and general manager rather than overturn its roster. Bill Peters replaces Kirk Muller behind the bench and Hall of Famer Ron Francis will step in for Jim Rutherford as general manager. Those could be just the first of many sweeping changes in Carolina. The players on the current roster will obviously be given another shot this season before the Hurricanes make any dramatic moves, but don’t be surprised to see Francis unload key cogs if Carolina starts slow and decides to blow up its roster to begin a full rebuild.

Salary cap: The Hurricanes have about $5 million in space, not counting a 12th forward that will either be promoted from within or a free agent signing. Carolina doesn’t usually spend to the cap ceiling though, so cap space isn’t necessarily indicative of the team’s financial standing against its internal budget. The Hurricanes will likely look to work out a long-term deal with Andrej Sekera during the season, but right now they’re set to have $15 million free next summer. Sekera, Gleason, McClement, Jiri Tlusty, Patrick Dwyer and Brett Bellemore could all be unrestricted free agents next year, though the Hurricanes might end up dealing many of them as sellers at the trade deadline.

Prospect pipeline: Elias Lindholm and Ryan Murphy are figuring things out in the NHL right now, and there will likely be a little gap between them and the next wave of ‘Canes prospects. 2014 first-round pick Haydn Fleury is the crown jewel of the system and could make the team out of camp. D Trevor Carrick really emerged last year, and C Victor Rask and LW Brock McGinn are also in the top tier of Carolina’s system. If the Hurricanes do decide to rebuild, they have a lot of work to do.

Projection: It would be stunning if Carolina finished anywhere but dead last in the division. The Hurricanes’ talent level is far below their Metro rivals and it’s looking likely they’ll be in the hunt for Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel next June.

Other Metro Division offseason recaps: FlyersDevilsBlue JacketsPenguins, Capitals 

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  • I predict the NY Rangers regress and are battling with Florida and the Isles for the last three spots. Washington is also heading to the bottom. I predict the Hurricanes finish above those teams.

  • If Marc doesn’t re-sign with us, this is the perfect organization to ship him off to. They have cap space, his brothers, and are going nowhere!!

    To Doug above, I think you are wrong on all counts!!!!!

    • What would you expect in return for him? I’m all for trading him, but the return has to be good, which isn’t a concern with Sather GMing. I know you guys hate on him, but he is a master of trades.

      • I don’t want to trade Marc at all, but if we can’t sign him, I don’t want to let him walk for nothing.

        As for a return, a #1, and a player or two?? Again, I’m not for getting rid of the guy, but I’m not for getting zippo in return for him walking!!

        If Carolina won’t give us a good return, there are another 28 teams to deal with……

        • The kid Lindholm would be a real nice return. He’s a right handed Centerman that can score goals. He had 21 points in I think 58 games last season. Him and a 2nd or 3rd round pick for Staal would make sense for the Rangers. Short on righties and right handed Centerman are non existent in the system.

          • I doubt Carolina accepts any trade where they lose serious assets, though, knowing that they can get him in FA w/o losing anything.

          • The Rangers can trade him elsewhere. They don’t have any inside track on Marc. At least they shouldn’t. Both of his brothers could be on the way out if the Cains start this season the same as the last few have gone.

          • That’s a deal that would wave the white flag on the upcoming season though. There is no one on the current roster or within the system to adequately replace Staal’s 20+ minutes of ice time per game.

            Staal is irreplaceable right now. Unless you are willing to give up on the season you might have to let Staal walk for nothing after the season if a contract agreement can’t be reached.

            No team is giving the Rangers a replacement for Staal that won’t cost the Rangers more in cap space than simply resigning Marc Staal.

            The only possible Staal replacement the Rangers have is John Moore and that would require a massive amount of improvement on Moore’s part. I don’t see that happening. This isn’t a knock on Moore, it’s just not that often you see a fringy bottom pair D all of a sudden play at a near All Star level after one offseason.

    • Again with the Staal to Carolina stuff? Enough already, it makes no sense. The teams are not good trading partners, period.

  • I hate to say this but if we trade Marc for a first rounder and Carolina is bad this year, it may be great for us.

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