The Carolina Hurricanes have spent the last week or so connected to free agent forward Jaromir Jagr. And while there may be an obvious fit, that may not be where their attention is completely focused at this point. According to several reports, the Hurricanes are making a free agent defenseman a priority.
The Canes have targeted a couple of defenseman in free agency, as there are a few intriguing names still out on the market. The goal is to sign one of these top guys remaining to a contract less than what they had initially asked for. Names they could be targeting include the likes of Ron Hainsey and Ryan Whitney.
Hainsey is an especially intriguing fit for this team. He’s an offensive defenseman, somewhat questionable in his own zone, but is also a shotblocking machine. On top of that, he’s the type of guy you want in the locker room, which would make him a nice fit for a blue line that is pretty young overall.
Whitney’s career has been essentially a failure in the last couple of years. Formerly an offensive weapon on the blue line, he hasn’t provided much from back there in the last few seasons, while at the same time serving as a traffic cone on defense. On a reasonably cheap deal, he’s still a capable second pairing defenseman.
Which is what the Hurricanes need. Neither one is going to turn their blue line into one of the league’s best, but each would represent a solid addition, especially at the right price. Hainsey could be a better fit, because of the leadership aspect, but deciding the two will come down to price, plain and simple.
We’ll know more in the coming days about what the Hurricanes plan to do with this situation. What is clear is that they need help on the blue line more than they need it on offense, so pursuing a free agent defenseman makes more sense than pursuing Jagr, especially when you consider the money involved.