Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 07/07/10 at 07:02 PM ET
In a completely unexpected move, the Carolina Hurricanes have signed free agent defenseman Joe Corvo to a two-year contract, returning him to Carolina. He will earn $2M in 2010-11 and $2.5M in 2011-12. The Canes have also re-signed defenseman Casey Borer to a two-way contract. This definitely shores up the defense and will put to rest the ridiculous rumors about Marc Staal.
This contract actually amounts to a pay cut for Corvo. He was paid $2.75M last season, but from what I’ve read, he’s just happy to be back in Raleigh. Here, at least he knows where he sits with the team and with the media.
Corvo first came to Carolina at the 2008 trading deadline in the blockbuster deal which sent Mike Commodore and Cory Stillman to the Senators for Patrick Eaves and Corvo. Apparently, things in Ottawa were less than desirable. He never got along with the media and I don’t think he felt comfortable in that environment.
Corvo immediately made an impact with the Canes, and he registered a hat trick against the Senators shortly after arriving in Raleigh. Over the next season and a half, he developed into a steady, puck-moving offensive defenseman. He was especially useful on the power play, when he put up the majority of his offensive stats. Last season, he was dealt to the Capitals in a salary dump that brought the big Finnish forward Oskar Osala, defenseman Brian Pothier and a 2011 second round draft pick to Raleigh. As a reader correctly reminded me, this 2011 second round pick was bundled with Carolina’s own sixth round selection in this summer’s draft to get Bobby Sanguinetti. In the end, then, the Canes got Oskar Osala for free.
It was beginning to look like the Hurricanes’ defense was going to have to rely heavily upon 2010 newcomer Jamie McBain this coming season. They were also going to have to rely upon recently acquired Bobby Sanguinetti, who is unproven at the NHL level. This move will allow the Canes to give McBain a less demanding role and will allow Sanguinetti to play in Charlotte. He, Jay Harrison and Casey Borer will compete for one spot instead of two.
Corvo has said that he appreciated the opportunity to compete for a Stanley Cup when he was traded in March, but that he really wanted to return here. There won’t be any period of adjusting to the coaches or players or system. He’ll fit right in as if he never left. With Corvo and Anton Babchuk back in the lineup, the specialty teams should be better than they would have been with all those kids playing big roles.
Borer, who was badly injured in the Albany River Rats bus crash of February 2009, has appeared in 16 regular season games for the Hurricanes over the last three seasons. He registered his only NHL points, getting one goal and three assists in 11 Hurricanes games during the 2007-08 season. His new contract is two-way. He is guaranteed $75k. In raw salary terms, he will get $65k at the AHL level and the league minimum of $500k at the NHL level. He missed the last 25 or so games of Albany’s 2008-09 season after suffering a broken vertebra in the bus crash. He needed surgery in the off-season and he missed the first 44 games of the 2009-10 season while he recovered.
Along with the Borer signing, the Canes also re-upped with forward Nicholas Blanchard. His two-year two-way contract will pay him $60k/$500k in 2010-11 and $65k/$535k in 2011-12. The contract features a guarantee of $75k in the first year and $80k in the second.
Jim Rutherford will say that he’s done in the free agent market, but the Canes still need a third line center who has NHL experience.
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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.