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Red and Black Hockey

Canes not making any progress with UFAs

According to the Raleigh News & Observer, the Hurricanes aren’t making any progress in their efforts to get UFAs Chad LaRose and Erik Cole re-signed before the July 1 date when they can enter the market.  I’m fully supportive of any and all efforts to keep LaRose in Raleigh, but I’m not convinced that Cole should stay on board. 

Nobody is surprised by this development, though.  Erik Cole has always been a bear to work with when it comes time for contract negotiations.  He was already overpaid at $4M, and despite all of his “Rah, rah, I love it in Raleigh” talk, he’s doing the same thing he always does.  In my mind, I had already figured him out of the equation anyway, so I’m not going to lose sleep over it. 

If Cole isn’t around, this might make room for the addition of a veteran right winger from free agency.  I’ve heard a rumor that I haven’t seen in print and I’m completely unable to substantiate, but it’s one that I kind of like…

Mike Knuble.  I’ve been a fan of Knuble for quite some time.  He’s an older dude, set to turn 36 on July 4, but he can still play.  He’s recorded 20 or more goals AND 20 or more assists in each of the last six seasons.  He’s potent on the power play, and he’s money in the clutch.  He tallied 11 power play goals this past season and had six game winners.  He’s also a durable guy.  Since the lockout, he’s only missed 16 regular season games, and all of those came during the 2006-07 season.

Last season, Knuble earned $2.8M.  At that price, it’s highly unlikely that the Flyers will re-sign him.  They’ve already committed to $54.9M in salary, and that’s with Ray Emery as their only goaltender with a contract.

Although born in Canada, Knuble is an American and has represented the USA five times in international play.  This is a big deal in the Hurricanes organization. 

In 2007, Knuble was awarded the Yanic Dupre Memorial award, which is given annually to the Flyer who “best illustrates character, dignity and respect for the sport both on and off the ice” as decided by the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.  He’s a good guy, a leader, and a Michigander.  He may have been born in Toronto, but he grew up in and played collegiate hockey in Michigan.  That’s something that sits well with team owner Peter Karmanos. 

Again, this is a completely unsubstantiated rumor.  Don’t ask me for a source, because I don’t have one.

If this turns out to have something to it, and the Canes can get Knuble for around the same money that he made last season, I’d say it would be worth it for at least one season.  But then again, the Hurricanes already have one grandpa in Rod Brind’Amour.  Do they really need another? 

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Hurricanes make some mid-minor trade at the draft on Friday night.  Someone else want to take the “rights to Erik Cole” and deal with his agent?  Be our guest.  Someone want to take Frantisek Kaberle?  Please. 

Other rumors, such as the Rob Scuderi one, have already been circulating.  Others will probably spring up between now and July 1.  And then, the fun starts.

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About Red and Black Hockey

David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science.  He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows.  Sometimes, all in the same day. 

David has contributed to CBC.ca for their Stanley Cup playoff coverage in 2006 and to the New York Times Slapshot blog for theirs in 2008. Red and Black Hockey was founded in July of 2005.