Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 02/24/11 at 09:00 PM ET
The rumours and unconfirmed reports are official now. Cory Stillman has been traded back to Carolina in exchange for the injured Ryan Carter and a fifth round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Stillman, 37, whose salary this season was $3.5M, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He has 23 (7/16) points in 44 games this season, including a goal and an assist against Carolina on January 3. He has six (1/5) points on the power play.
When Carolina dealt away defenseman Ian White’s $3M contract, basically in exchange for Derek Joslin, I suspected that something was up Jim Rutherford’s sleeve. Frankly, I expected something a little younger, but I think this will work just fine. In that magical 2005-06 season, Stillman was a huge cog in the wheel during the regular season with 76 (21/55) points. Then he pitched in with 26 (9/17) in 25 playoff games, helping the Canes win the Cup.
Stillman knows a bunch of the guys in the room and is very popular with the fans, so this is going to be a really easy transition. He will obviously bring some veteran experience to a team that is pretty damn young. He should be a force as the Canes head down the stretch and into the playoffs.
This is basically a free rental, as Ryan Carter wasn’t likely to get back in the lineup this season. It creates a logjam at left wing, which will most likely mean that Jerome Samson will head back to Charlotte, where he has been lighting it up this season. He still doesn’t have his NHL legs, and he quite frankly might never develop them.
Carter is scheduled to be a free agent, and probably would not have been renewed anyway.
Stillman will wear his number 61 again, and I assume that he’ll be available for Friday night’s home game against the Penguins. I’ll predict a goal and an assist in his first game back.
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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.