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Red and Black Hockey

Canes make lots of deals, but not “the big one”

On the trading deadline day, Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford was very busy.  He made five transactions, which sent a total of six players out of Raleigh.  In return, the Canes organ-eye-zation is getting four players and five picks.  Just one of the four players is NHL ready, but they’ll be picking up a third round, fourth round, sixth round and seventh round pick in this summer’s draft, plus a second round pick in 2011.  There are two very important things going on with these trades that will help Carolina immensely.  First, they’re going to immediately save money, getting some of these contracts off the books.  And they instantly get much younger.  Five Canes players who were traded are over the age of thirty, and they only gave away one prospect.  In return, they’re getting one NHL player, three prospects, and the picks.
Among the bevy of trades, Ray Whitney remains a Hurricane.  He was considered to be a highly sought after player in the trade market, but nobody was able to make an attractive enough offer.  I’ll try to make quick analysis of each of the trades.  I realize that I might be among the minority in Caniac Nation, but I really like what Jim Rutherford did today.

  • First, Rutherford send the ancient Aaron Ward and his $2.5M salary to the Ducks in exchange for young goaltending prospect Justin Pogge and a fourth round draft pick in either 2010 or 2011.  The 37 year old Ward had one goal and ten assists for the Canes this season, and was pretty much invisible for the first half of the season.  He’s been okay in the second half, but has been more frustrating than anything else for the Canes.  His salary was $2.5M this season and will become a UFA on July 1. The 23 year old goaltender Pogge was paid $605k this season and has been up and down between the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL and the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL. In 23 games with the Rampage this season, he had a record of 12-7-3 with a GAA of 2.57 and a save % of .920. He’ll head for Albany, and there’s no telling what will happen with him in the summer when he becomes an RFA. It’s hard to tell how much of a cap hit Pogge will be, but it’s very minimal.  By waving goodbye to Aaron Ward for a second time, the Canes will immediately clear $518k and will gain a mid-round draft pick. I have no problem with this.
  • Next, the Canes sent aging winger Scott Walker to the Washington Capitals for a seventh round draft pick.  This is nothing more than a salary dump, as that draft pick will probably never amount to anything.  Walker has two goals and three assists this season and has missed a bunch of time with injuries.  He’s currently recovering from shoulder surgery that he had in January and there’s no telling if he’s going to be of value to the Caps. He’s going to be a UFA this July, and might consider retirement.  He made big news last spring when he sucker-punched Aaron Ward (then with the Bruins) in game five of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. After serving a one-game suspension, he returned for game seven, where he scored the series-winning goal in overtime.  We later found out that his wife Julie had been diagnosed with cervical cancer just a few days prior.  Like the Ward deal, this has an immediate savings of $518 from the cap hit.
  • Then the Canes made another deal with the Caps.  Big Joe Corvo was shipped out and in return, the Canes got veteran defenseman Brian Pothier,  prospect forward Oskar Osala AND a second round draft pick in 2011.  Corvo and Pothier are almost exactly the same age (Pothier is two months older).  Corvo has better career numbers in the regular season and in the playoffs.  The Canes will pick up $518k of Pothier’s cap hit while shedding $544 of Corvo’s.  Both Pothier and Corvo become UFAs on July 1. This is a net savings of $26k, and the Canes are getting what looks like a very exciting young Finnish prospect.  Osala, who has 29 (15/14) points with the Hershey Bears this season, is in the second year of a three year entry level contract.  You can never have too many Finns.  Expect a full post about this trade later.  Also, they get a second round pick in 2011, so it looks like a good deal for the Canes.  
  • The fourth Canes trade of the day sent defenseman Andrew Alberts and his Hot Tamales obsession to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a third round draft pick in this upcoming draft.  The Canes shed another $218k in cap space with this trade.  The 28-year old Alberts, who is a hitting machine, and perhaps also a turnover machine, will become a UFA in July.  He had 10 (2/8) points with the Canes this season.  He led the Canes and is 13th in the League with 178 hits.  He also has an unhealthy obsession with Hot Tamales candies.  He brings it up all the time in interviews. 
  • The fifth and final transaction for the Canes sent veteran forward Stephane Yelle and prospect Harrison Reed to the Colorado Avalanche for Quebec-born prospect Cedric Lalonde-McNicoll.  The 21 year old has 13 (5/8) points with the Lake Erie Monsters this season, his first season in the AHL.  Reed has six (1/5) points with the River Rats this season and Yelle has seven (4/3) points with the Canes this year.  The Avs pick up $114k of Yelle’s salary cap hit.


All told, the Canes cleared $1.394M in salary, they lost a handful of players over the age of 32, and they gained a bunch of draft picks.  I honestly don’t think that any of these players will be missed very much, so I’m pleased with the outcome.  Carolina had just got a bunch of players back from the injured list, so there was going to be a numbers game anyway, so there were bound to be some casualties. 

At the end of the day, there were still some roster spots open, so the Canes called up winger Zach Boychuk and defenseman Jay Harrison from Albany.  Boychuk is making his sixth call-up duty, and he will probably be here to stay.  Harrison is making his second.  Boychuk has tallied four (1/3) points in 12 games while Harrison has notched five (1/4) points in 18 games with the big team. 

Suffice to say, the Hurricanes team will look pretty different on Thursday, and they’ll be young.  This is the change that we expected in the off-season, and I’m looking forward to it very much.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: aaron+ward, anaheim+ducks, andrew+alberts, carolina+hurricanes, colorado+avalanche, joe+corvo, scott+walker, stephane+yelle, trade+deadline, vancouver+canucks, washington+capitals


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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.