Breaking News: the Hurricanes had prized forwards Filip Forsberg and Teuvo Teravainen available with the 8th overall pick in the NHL Draft. Instead, the Hurricanes traded that pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins who were hosting the draft.
The Penguins received the Hurricanes 8th overall pick, second line center Brandon Sutter and second best defensive prospect Brian Dumoulin.
The Penguins used that pick to add defenseman Derrick Pouliot from the Portland Winterhawks. The Penguins fell in love with Pouliot in the WHL because he can score (59 points in regular season and 17 in playoffs) and he is a two-way defender who quarterbacks the powerplay and has impressive puck handling and vision. Pouliot was the sixth defenseman already taken in this draft and he was the eight selection.
It turns out the rumors were true about Staal wanting to join his two brothers, Eric and Jared, and parents in Carolina after rejecting the Penguins 10 year offer worth $60 million.
General Manager Jim Rutherford mentioned that he wanted to be buyers again this off-season by adding a top line forward via trade or free agency. That is exactly what he did and he brought the brother chemistry to the Raleigh-Durham Triangle.
Last season, Penguins Alternate Captain Staal had 25 goals, 25 assists and a +11 rating in 62 regular season games. On top of that he added nine more points in six playoff games.
Staal gives Carolina a $4 million additional cap hit next season (His contract is worth $6 million in 2012-13 but Sutter’s was worth $2 million) and Staal will more than likely play alongside his brother on the top line. His 6’4 frame also adds size to a team that lacks a ton of physical play.
The Hurricanes could have drafted an NHL-ready forward who could have contributed in the bottom two lines and could have waited to sign Staal as an unrestricted free agent next season. But they didn’t. Why? They are confident that they can resign him to a long term contract. ESPN Hockey analyst Pierre LeBrun thinks so too with this tweet:
Now for the real question – Why give up so much? Rutherford and Head Coach Kirk Muller have something up their sleeve to trade all this talent. That sleeve just so happens to be lost in New Jersey.
Sutter has contributed so much to the Canes in the past two seasons and he wore an “A” proudly on his jersey and will be missed by the Caniacs. That “A” will be replaced by Jordan Staal. Or maybe, just maybe, Zach Parise.
Yes the Hurricanes did lose a lot of talent and could have waited to sign Jared Staal next July like the New York Rangers did to sign Brad Richards this past season. The Staal brothers along with nearly $14 million more dollars available in salary cap may be enough to entice unrestricted free agent Zach Parise to give Carolina a second look.
Is Carolina the ideal situation for Parise? Not necessarily. But acquiring Staal is a step in the right direction and the Hurricanes have plenty of dough to flaunt. The Hurricanes have enough money to sign both Parise and Staal to long term contracts worth up to $7 million a year and they would still have money to add role players down the road if need be. This move moved Carolina in the top 5 for the Parise Sweepstakes and they may be able to get Staal to agree to a hometown discount since the majority of his family now lives there.
Parise had 31 goals and 38 assists this past season and added 8 more goals and 7 assists in the playoffs. Rutherford is certainly going to try his best for a top line of Staal- Staal- Parise in Carolina, but it wont be easy to pull of.
Looks like Pittsburgh knew what they were doing as well. They got a hull of prospects and also said they would make a play for Parise if they can trade Paul Martin to clear some cap space. The Pens are looking to add a star winger for Sidney Crosby.
Smart move on draft day by Rutherford? I guess we will find out when free agency opens. This is surely not the last big move the Hurricanes make this off-season.