Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 07/13/09 at 11:28 PM ET
Even before the free agency period began, the talk around Raleigh was that UFA defenseman Dennis Seidenberg wouldn’t be back with the Canes in the fall. Apparently, his agent was asking for too much. The prevailing sentiment was that the Canes were going to have to scoop someone up out of free agency. Finding a defensive defenseman is going to be tough. Given Carolina’s need to stay well below the cap, it’s going to be even tougher. I wrote a post about this yesterday, but now it seems like matters have just become more complicated. Seidenberg, who had been written off, has reemerged into the scene.
This summer has already been a roller coaster as far as Carolina’s UFAs are concerned. Erik Cole and Chad LaRose were both written off, as they pursued the free agent market. After a few days, Cole was re-signed at a significant discount. A few more days later, Chad LaRose re-signed. It seemed like it would be impossible to re-sign Dennis Seidenberg, but suddenly, things have changed. Chip Alexander wrote today in the N&O that the lines of communication have been re-opened. In a soap operatic twist, Seidenberg might be back in Raleigh after all. And there’s more…
Jim Rutherford spoke about the turn of events:
“We do have interest in Dennis,” Rutherford said. “We had a conversation with J.P. (Barry) on Friday and that door is open again.
“When we first backed away from Dennis, it had nothing to do with Dennis. It was with his initial request. We could not go to that level. He’s been out there as a free agent and able to talk to teams, and now we’re talking again.”
There’s no telling what the “initial offer” was that was tabled by Seidenberg’s agent JP Barry. From the way Rutherford spoke earlier this summer, it must have been in the neighborhood of $2.5M. Seids, who will turn 28 on Saturday, had his best NHL season in 2008-09 while making $1.2M. He was first on the team with 160 blocked shots and was fourth on the team (second among defensemen) with 146 hits in 70 games played. While he’s primarily a defensive defenseman, he also put up pretty good offensive numbers. He posted career bests of five goals and 25 assists in the regular season. He also had a great playoff season. He scored one goal and added five assists. If you’re scoring along at home, that’s a better offensive output than both Erik Cole and Rod Brind’Amour. He was third among Hurricanes and 12th in the league with 59 postseason hits. He was first on the Canes and fourth in the league with 39 blocked shots.
I’d say Seids has earned a big pay raise, and I’m hoping that it’ll get sorted out pretty quickly.
In the same article, Alexander wrote that the Canes are interested in buying out Frantisek Kaberle’s contract.
“It’s not that we think Frank can’t play anymore,” Rutherford said. “But it would free up some cash and allow us to change the defense the way we want to and give it more of a physical aspect.”
Kaberle has one year remaining and is scheduled to make $2.2M. By anyone’s account, he’s not even worth half that. After scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal in 2006, he had some shoulder surgery that summer. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the surgery, but he was never the same after that. I’ve already said a million times, and I’ll say again what Jim Rutherford won’t: Frantisek Kaberle can’t play anymore.
If the buyout goes down—and I’ve been clamoring for it for over a year now—it will cost the Hurricanes $726k this season and $726k next season. This would give the Canes some extra spending money ($1.474M to be exact) this season with which to raise Seidenberg’s salary and/or shop for a free agent defensive defenseman. Some of the Caniac faithful are making noise for Andrew Alberts, but I just don’t think he’d fit into the budget, even with the extra cash.
If Seidenberg were back on the team, it would certainly reduce the need to get a defensive defenseman out of free agency. If Frankie is bought out, it doesn’t really matter who replaces him. Any of the Albany guys. A blind kid. A traffic pylon. For that matter, the famed traffic barrel monster.
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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.