Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 07/06/10 at 01:04 PM ET
Jim Rutherford and Peter Karmanos promised that Carolina wouldn’t be active in the free agent market, and they’ve followed through on that promise. On Monday night, they announced the re-signing of backup goaltender Justin Peters. He committed to a two-year two-way contract which will pay him the NHL league minimum of $500k in 2010-11. The following season, his NHL salary will be $550k. In each season, the AHL salary would be $105k. Of this, he is guaranteed $225k in 2010-11 and $250k the following season.
This solidifies what was already pretty clear. Peters will be the backup and Manny Legace will have to move along.
So far this summer, Carolina hasn’t made any signings other than to renew the contracts of its own. After the dust settles, they might acquire some role players from the FA pool, but no major moves are expected.
Last week, Carolina signed defenseman Anton Babchuk to a one year contract valued at $1.4M. Although he played the 2009-2010 season in the KHL, he was a RFA and his rights were retained by Carolina. They had to wait until July 1 to make it happen, but technically speaking, this was a re-signing.
As it looks right now, Carolina’s blueline regulars would be Tim Gleason and Joni Pitkanen on the top pairing, Anton Babchuk and Jamie McBain on the second pairing and Jay Harrison and Bobby Sanguinetti on the third pairing. There’s not a lot of NHL experience in that last pairing, and Canes fans would like to see another NHL-ready player brought in.
To this end, a lot of ridiculously optimistic Canes fans have suggested Marc Staal. Honestly, if his surname weren’t Staal, I don’t think this conversation would be taking place, but it is. He still hasn’t come to terms with the Rangers on a contract renewal and he sits on the open market. He’s a great defenseman just coming out of his entry-level contract, and by all estimations, he’s going to rightfully command a salary of $4M this season. Unfortunately, this isn’t in the Hurricanes’ budget. It’s fun to think about how he would fit in with his brother(s) on this team, and it’s exciting to consider how good the defense would become with him in the mix, but it isn’t going to happen.
In order to make a MStaal signing happen, the Hurricanes would have to give up, as compensation to the Rangers, their own first round and their own third round pick in 2011. It’s important to note that the league does not allow acquired picks to be used as compensation. Would Carolina be prepared to give up this much AND go way over budget for MStaal? Most likely not. Barring some strange and sudden change of game plan, this is too much.
Carolina still has a few of its own RFAs to re-sign, and then they might pick up a defenseman or centerman from the FA pool after the major players get snatched up.
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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.