Sometimes, it can make a person shake their head that someone like Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford could make such completely horrible decisions, despite having the one and only job of making good decisions.
Let’s all be perfectly honest here — Rutherford has made some whoppers in his day. Not only through his actions, but his inactions. A quick perusal through the franchise history will reveal a laundry list of head-scratchers. To be fair, hindsight is 20-20. Looking at Rutherford’s track history however, shows that proverb doesn’t apply anywhere near here.
More than anything, his has a disgusting habit of “recycling players.” For all its great points, the Hurricanes organization is quite insular and borderline incestuous. Players are rarely brought in that don’t have any sort of connection to the team itself. The rare exceptions are Jeff Skinner (2010 draft) and Alexander Semin (FA). Both of those were actually great decisions. Skinner was lighting the world on fire with the Kitchener Rangers, and Semin was a standout with the Washington Capitals.
Only part of that can be attributed to Rutherford, however. Skinner was a product of magnificent scouting, and Semin was getting shipped out of Washington anyway — Rutherford just took the couch off the curb for them.
Currently, trade rumors involve Rutherford considering bringing Erik Cole back to the team from the Dallas Stars. This has made people yell “no!” at their screens louder than bombs. The Hurricanes have had a putrid record recycling players — a practice they needed to abandon a long time ago anyway.
How did that Joe Corvo thing work out last season? Or how about Cory Stillman‘s second appearance?
Fans have rightfully lost their faith in Rutherford. His recent moronic decisions include sitting idle at the trade deadline last season and offering a tryout contract to Rick DiPietro. Lest anyone forget, there was also the brainiac move of paying Jordan Staal nearly double what he’s worth. The younger Staal is absolutely one of the crown jewels of the team. However, is he worth $6 million a season? No, he isn’t.
He’s a $1.5 million player at most, yet Rutherford needed to complete his collection of Staal bobbleheads. Now take a guess why the Hurricanes lost the bidding war for Zach Parise. Anyone want to discuss Tim Gleason‘s contract?
While he lucked out on Manny Malhotra, how far can he ride that horse? Not very. With the trade talks simmering around the Hurricanes and the Gleason trade rumored to be an any-day-now situation, this is Rutherford’s chance to show that he is conscious and still has a shred of concern for the team.
Bringing back Cole will only backfire for everyone involved. This is the chance for Rutherford to step up and make a trade for someone valuable, and most of all new. As in, someone who hasn’t played for or is related to anyone who played for the Hurricanes — someone who brings new blood, new energy and proven offensive capabilities.
Gleason needs to go — that’s fact. The disaster would only get worse, however, if Rutherford plays this one with any sort of loyalty card.
Malhotra and Nathan Gerbe were flukes when you look at Rutherford’s history of being an idiot. Should he screw this one up, owner Peter Karmanos Jr. needs to seriously start looking at some resumes for a new GM.