Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 06/11/10 at 11:38 PM ET
Today, the Hurricanes, via the Canes Now blog at the Raleigh News & Disturber, have announced that they’ve made a decision about the goaltending logjam. 23-year old Justin Peters will be the guy backing up Cam Ward next season. This means that 37-year old Manny Legace, who played his heart out in an emergency situation for the Canes, will be free to become a free agent on July 1. He suggested that he might consider playing in the KHL if things don’t work out for him in the NHL.
Manny started the season in the Atlanta Thrashers farm team, and was signed out of desperation when the Canes and River Rats had a bunch of injuries to goaltenders. There wasn’t anyone available in Albany, so they had to go the free agent route. At one point, Albany had a goaltender on loan from another club.
This is just one of many moves to get the team younger, and it really sucks that a quality guy like Manny got caught up in the numbers game, but it is what it is, and the youth movement is something that has to happen.
Hundreds of thousands of words have been written about the winding down of 39-year old Rod Brind’Amour’s career and his usefulness (or lack of same) to this club. There’s a chance that his final year will be bought out. 38-year old Ray Whitney is scheduled to become a free agent, and there’s almost no chance that he’ll be re-signed here for more than a single season.
36-year old Scott Walker was traded away for a bag of pucks at the trading deadline back in March.
33-year old Matt Cullen was traded away back in February for the young and very promising blueliner Alexandre Picard. On a side note, Picard resembles Avi Tanabe way too much for my taste, but he plays much better.
32-year old defenseman Joe Corvo was traded away at the deadline in a move that brought in the highly priced Brian Pothier, the promising Finnish youngster Oscar Osala and a draft pick.
36-year old Stephane Yelle was traded away for prospects at the trading deadline.
37-year old Aaron Ward was brought back to the fold, then traded away at the trading deadline for young goaltender Justin Pogge.
There’s talk that the Hurricanes might buy out the remainder of 31-year old Sergei Samsonov’s contract.
This purging of the old guard could leave 31-year old Erik Cole as the elder statesman of the team. Behind him in line would be the 27-year old Tim Gleason. Not exactly an “old dog”. This is a refreshing and much needed change. At the start of the 2009-10 season, the Hurricanes were the oldest team in the league with an average age of 30.5. The way things are going, they will have an average age of right around 26 at the start of next season.
Jim Rutherford has indicated that he doesn’t have any plans to make a big move in the free agent market, but if Brind’Amour, Whitney and Samsonov are all gone, or even if any two of those are gone, there’s going to be some openings on the forward lines, and there aren’t enough horses in the stable down in Charlotte. The’re going to have to go out and get a winger. One name that’s been bandied about is Lee Stempniak, and that’ll be another post for another day.
The point is, Carolina is getting younger. Much younger. Some people will argue that they’re getting too young too quickly, but I’m looking forward to the sea change.
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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.