Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 08/19/09 at 07:46 PM ET
On Wednesday, the Hurricanes made a surprising announcement. They’ve signed veteran center Stéphane Yelle to a one-year contract valued at $550k. The 35-year old Ottawa native played last season with the Bruins, tallying 18 (7/11) points in 77 games. He added one assist in 11 playoff games.
Yelle is the third player who started last season on the Bruins roster and will start this season with the Canes. The 6’1” 195lb two-way player also played with the Flames and the Avalanche in his 14 year career. He won the Cup with Colorado in 1996 and 2001.
This is a great signing for the Hurricanes, as Yelle will bring more leadership and experience to the team. This signing completes Carolina’s business for the summer, and it will have an impact on some of the players who are already under contract. Mostly, Brandon Sutter and Jussi Jokinen.
Carolina is now well stocked at center, and this summer’s signings say a lot about Brandon Sutter. It’s now painfully clear that the Hurricanes don’t think Brandon Sutter is ready to be an every day NHL player. Out of necessity, he was rushed along last fall and ended up playing in 50 games, scoring 6 (1/5) points. He suffered a concussion and missed eight games early in the season, and he didn’t have much confidence after that. By season’s end, he was sent to Albany, where he put up 12 (4/8) points in 22 games with the River Rats.
This fall, Carolina is much better stocked at forward and won’t have to make Sutter, or Zach Boychuk, jump to the NHL before they’re ready.
With the amount of centers that Carolina now has, they’ll use Jussi Jokinen as a winger. He can play any forward position, and is very good at that stuff that centers do—faceoffs, defense, but he’s probably better off as a wing. This is where the Stars used him, and where he enjoyed success.
The question is where Rod Brind’Amour will play. Third line or fourth? I’m thinking third.
Carolina has gone over their budget. They still have cap room, but unless some other salary is moved, they’re not going to take on any more. This means that free agents Ryan Bayda and Anton Babchuk are out.
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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.