Ray Whitney said in an article in Raleigh's News and Observer Wednesday, "Same as Jimmy (Rutherford), I'd like to get something done and stay here, the sooner the better." That will be the first part of the off-season, resiging those key pieces.
First to sign will be Whitney, the team's leading scorer with 83 points. It is absoluetley neccessary, considering that Rod Brind'Amour has not played with somebody this consistent in his career. An earner of $3.27 mil this year, Whitney was a cap-casualty of the Red Wings.
A second player is Scott Walker, who, if Whitney wasn't as good, could probably have been the 'Canes MVP this year. Yes, the ex-Pred did score 32 less points than No.13, but his energy and feistiness show me that he could be a model for a future Chad LaRose (more on that in a future blog).
Other FA include Joe Vasicek, Dave Tanabe, and Anson Carter. Carter will probably return to Colombus, a team which The Hockey News picked to finish eighth in the West. Ditto that. Joe and Tanabe, who reemerged as a top four defenseman this year for the 'Canes, will stay. The only foray into the FA market by the 'Canes will be a stay-at-home defenseman. Not much offense is needed with Mike Commodore's sudden outburst, Frank Kaberle, and Tanabe.