Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 06/22/09 at 09:20 PM ET
Today the news came that defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, scheduled to become an UFA on July 1, will most likely not be back in Raleigh this fall. According to the News & Observer, the Canes won’t be willing to pay him what he thinks he’s worth. Jim Rutherford had this to say:
“Based on my conversation with his agent, and where they think he’s at, he’s a long way out of our reach.
The 27-year-old German has spent the last two and a half seasons with Carolina after coming over when the Hurricanes traded Kevyn Adams to the
... Phoenix Coyotes in January of 2007. He put up career bests in goals, assists, points, games played. He also managed to stay, for the most part, injury free.
This, coupled with another possible exiting blueliner, means that Carolina’s defense will have a different look next season, and they’re probably gonna have to break tradition and become a buyer in the free agent market.
There have already been rumors that Frantisek Kaberle, who was grossly overpaid at $2.2M, and who has one year remaining at that rate, wants out. As the rumor goes, he wants to go to the KHL. Of at least, the folks at Avangard Omsk want him. That headline translates to “Avangard is negotiating with two NHL players”. The other being Michael Nylander. A spokesman for Avangard Omsk, when asked about the existing NHL contracts that Kaberle and Nylander are under, said
Поверьте, если мы им занимаемся, значит, вариант перехода есть. Пока работаем над этим.
... which translates roughly to “Don’t worry about it. We’ve got it figured out”
To put it bluntly, I’d be happy to see Kaberle go. He may have scored the Cup winning goal in 2006, and he may have provided a few warm and cuddly memories, but I’ve grown very tired of him in the past couple of years. Watching Kaberle play has almost made me miss Avi Tanabe.
I’ve never been one of Seidenberg’s biggest fans. Honestly, I’m a little bit confused by the following that he has.
The point is, if Kaberle isn’t back and Seids isn’t renewed, Carolina will have five NHL defenseman under contract for next season. This includes Tim Conboy, who will be more likely to find himself playing in the New York State Penal League than as a regular in the NHL. Anton Babchuk, who will become a free agent is most accurately described as mercurial. He did some really good things in the regular season, but did his best impression of Erik Cole in the postseason. Even if he is re-signed (and my guess is that he’ll pursue other options), he’s a third pairing guy on a good day.
Carolina has some young guys like Casey Borer, Bryan Rodney and Brett Carson in the system. All are RFAs and none are good enough to become NHL regulars just yet. Carolina will have no choice but to acquire a defenseman via trade or free agency. It’s already been made clear that Carolina’s need is a defensive defenseman. Preferably one who can play in the second pairing.
It sure would be sweet if the Canes put a serious bid on Rob “The Piece” Scuderi when he becomes an UFA on July 1. It’s a foregone conclusion that the Pens are going to let him walk. Of course he’ll have loads of suitors and he’ll be seeing a payday much bigger than his 2008-09 salary of $725K. He’d be an ideal candidate, but I don’t think Jimmy Rutherford is about to join a bidding war on him. A more likely scenario will be a draft day trade or a lower profile FA. Maybe the old man will prove me wrong.
Sometime this week, I’ll do some homework about the free agent defensemen.
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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.