Truth & Rumors > NHL

Canes can't afford to keep key players

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08:24 AM ET 05.04 | As the playoffs roll on, Carolina is prepping for 2011-12. There are difficult decisions to be made. Soon, the Hurricanes will have to make them. Four top the list, the four unrestricted free agents who played the biggest roles for the Hurricanes this season: Erik Cole, Jussi Jokinen, Chad LaRose and Joni Pitkanen. Each, in his own way, is indispensable, yet it's going to be nearly impossible for the Hurricanes to keep all of them. What the Hurricanes do with those four players will set the tone for everything else they do this summer. Rutherford has indicated he would like to bring Cole back, so the only question is how much and how long. At the other end of the spectrum, the budget situation will make it very unlikely that the Hurricanes can afford to keep Pitkanen, who made $4.5 million this season.

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Erik Cole, Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI Erik Cole, Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI
May 4, 2011  08:51 AM ET

so is this a cap situation, or a team budget situation?
it's nice to have the team loyalty, but the Canes fell short this year - maybe time to get some new faces

May 4, 2011  09:07 AM ET

My guess would be that Chad La Rose may be the odd man out considering he had the worst plus/minus by far out of the bunch.

May 4, 2011  10:51 AM ET

I wouldn't mind Jussi Jokinen in a Pens jersey next year. I think he's a very underrated forward.

May 4, 2011  10:51 AM ET
QUOTE:

great cap management!!!!

Is it the cap, or the team budget. Do they feel the need to stay several million beneath the cap?

Comment #6 has been removed
May 4, 2011  11:26 AM ET

This is ownership being cheap. If they had spent a couple extra million this year on a scorer they could have made it back by getting into the playoffs and making revenue there.

May 4, 2011  11:33 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

No one on Carolina is "indispensable".

And ... when are the Canes moving to Winnipeg?

May 4, 2011  12:34 PM ET

How is Pitkanen not the priority? Cole has proven he can't play anywhere else. Let him hit the market, see that he gets offered pennies, and come back for cheap with his tail between his legs.

The other 2 are spare parts. To call them indispensible is ridiculous. Staal and Skinner are the only skaters on that team deserving that recognition, not 3rd and 4th line plugs.

Let them all walk if they want raises, none of them deserve it. Team didn't make the playoffs. Build around Cam Ward, Staal and Skinner. Forget re-tread rejects like these guys or Samsonov.

May 4, 2011  12:36 PM ET
QUOTE(#8):

And ... when are the Canes moving to Winnipeg?

Ha, easy.

I think the 'canes might now be the "Model Franchise" in the southern US, now that Dallas has its ownership issues. You might get Bettman's panties in a twist if you say they are a lacklustre franchise...

May 4, 2011  01:15 PM ET

I can tell you from experience living just outside Raleigh where the Canes are located, that they are a model franchise. Obviously, ownership nor the area have the money to spend with teams like the Rangers, but they conduct themselves very similarly to how the Twins run their small market baseball franchise, and no one complains about them. They're not going to be a team that spends at the cap or above every year because financially they can't absorb those hits if they miss the playoffs. They will always be a team that spends wisely and drafts smartly. They'll miss the playoffs for 2-3 years as they build up, then have a small window of 2-3 years of being a contender, and back again. Unless Mark Cuban or a similarly extremely wealthy owner is interested in owning a Carolina based franchise, they will always be that way. Those type of owners are very few and far between, and typically own your larger market teams.

May 4, 2011  01:20 PM ET
QUOTE:

great cap management!!!!

No it's the cheap a-ss budget put out by a team that has no fans
MOVE BACK TO HARTFORD
or some other northern American or Southern Canadian city

May 4, 2011  01:31 PM ET
QUOTE(#8):

And ... when are the Canes moving to Winnipeg?

Todays paper out here a Scottsdale lady wrote that her sister said Winnipeg was accepting orders for [ouote]" the new hockey team next season" but the season ticketholders in Arizona " aren't hearing anything about next year" It was in the letters to the editor. Canes, Yotes, who knows

May 4, 2011  02:13 PM ET
QUOTE(#12):

No it's the cheap a-ss budget put out by a team that has no fans MOVE BACK TO HARTFORDor some other northern American or Southern Canadian city

Hey ****...you've obviously never been to a canes game....you MUST be referring to the thrashers.

May 4, 2011  02:16 PM ET

Hey ****...you've obviously never been to a canes game....you MUST be referring to the thrashers.

May 4, 2011  04:16 PM ET

Rutherford was a moron for firing Laviolette....and a bigger moron for bringing back Paul Maurice....end result = no playoffs

May 4, 2011  05:16 PM ET

One of the Canes is surly headed to the Pens since Crosby's 8.7 million will be gone from the cap restriction.

May 4, 2011  05:22 PM ET

Isn't there a Finnish **** star called Jussi Joni? Just asking...

May 4, 2011  10:17 PM ET
QUOTE(#16):

Rutherford was a moron for firing Laviolette....and a bigger moron for bringing back Paul Maurice....end result = no playoffs

He did bring them back from the grave and competing until the last week. he always does...i wonder whats wrong with his staying power?

May 5, 2011  01:16 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

I wouldn't mind Jussi Jokinen in a Pens jersey next year. I think he's a very underrated forward.

I wouldn't mind just about any forward in a Pens jersey. They really only have 2 NHL quality lines... thats what happens when 30% of your salary is tied up in two players.

 
May 5, 2011  05:54 PM ET

sell them and move to phoenix.

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