The Carolina Hurricanes were relatively quiet on trade deadline day. Instead of being in a position to be buyers, the Canes’ recent five game losing streak (before finally winning one in San Jose last night) put them squarely in the sellers category. The only deal of the day made by general manager Jim Rutherford happened when the team traded underperforming forward Tuomo Ruutu to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for forward Andrei Loktionov and a conditional third-round draft pick in 2017.
Ruutu, who has been fighting off the injury bug for the better part of the last two seasons, takes a grit and attitude not seen by many players to the Devils’ roster. In return, the Hurricanes were able to dump a ton of salary (Ruutu’s $4.75 million dollar cap hit), and they get a young player who can be plugged into certain situations where the Canes need help the most (the powerplay).
Jim Rutherford said after the trade that the Canes would likely not be involved in anymore movement, which comes as a surprise to many fans. Goaltender Anton Khudobin signed a two year extension yesterday that gives him a legitimate chance to displace goalie Cam Ward as the starter, if he hasn’t done so already this year. With Justin Peters a pending free agent at season’s end, fans wondered if any of the three goalies would be traded at the deadline. Now it looks as though all three goalies will be here until the end of the season and things will have to sort themselves out.
The Hurricanes also have a myriad of unrestricted free agents at the conclusion of the year, but have opted to hang on to them instead of dumping them for future draft picks. There could be a lot of changes in the organization by puck drop next year including head coach Kirk Muller or even Rutherford’s spot as general manager.
As for the on-ice performance, the Canes got a nice win over the Sharks in San Jose last night, but it was their first win in six games. They currently sit six points out of a playoff spot with 20 games remaining, but they would need to jump over 4 teams in that short amount of time to become post-season eligible. Plenty of fans are calling for heads to roll this off-season if the Canes don’t reach the playoffs for the 5th consecutive year. Things definitely need to change for the better, but the Canes do have a solid core to work with if they plan on building a Stanley Cup contending team.