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Hurricanes GM 'more than OK' with quiet deadline

Monday, 02.27.2012 / 6:47 PM / 2012 Trade Deadline

By Kurt Dusterberg - NHL.com Correspondent

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Hurricanes GM 'more than OK' with quiet deadline
Carolina's general manager had a pair of veteran defensemen he could have dealt, but decided holding on to Bryan Allen and Jaroslav Spacek was the way to go.


RALEIGH -- The Carolina Hurricanes remained quiet at the NHL trade deadline on Monday, in part because they didn't have many players they wanted to move.

Jaroslav Spacek
Defense - CAR
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 9 | PTS: 12
SOG: 35 | +/-: 3
The Hurricanes had a pair of pending unrestricted free agents, defensemen Bryan Allen and Jaroslav Spacek, but both will remain with Carolina.

"I'm more than OK with it," said general manager Jim Rutherford, who noted that both players have been a strong influence in the team's dressing room.

Allen, who was acquired from Florida at the deadline and has a no-trade clause, has expressed interest in remaining with Carolina next season, so staying put wasn't a negative for either party. But unlike veterans Tuomo Ruutu and Tim Gleason, who were signed to extensions in recent weeks, Allen was not offered a new deal before the deadline.

"We've had a couple casual conversations as to where (his) agent thought he would fall, and that's it for now," Rutherford said. "We have to July 1 to re-sign him, so based on what he's done for our team and where he fits on our team, it makes more sense that we keep that right to negotiate a contract with him until July 1."

Rutherford said he did receive inquiries on Spacek, the 38-year-old defenseman who came from Montreal in a midseason deal for Tomas Kaberle.

"For the most part, he was second or third on teams' lists," Rutherford said. "Teams never got to that, and we never got to the point of getting an offer."

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It has been a turbulent season for the Hurricanes, who fired coach Paul Maurice in late November after the team got off to a slow start. Although they were never able to recover enough to get back in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, Rutherford is pleased with the team's progress under new coach Kirk Muller.

"When Kirk came in, one of the things we talked about was we wanted to see a good work ethic on a game-to-game basis," he said. "That's something that we've gotten of late."

Rutherford believes the team's fortunes will change dramatically next season.

"We need another top-flight forward to play with Eric Staal," he said. "If we can maintain what we have now and add that player, then we're getting real close to being a real good team again."

No fewer than 10 players have skated on Staal's wing this season -- one reason Staal struggled for much of the season. Currently, Jiri Tlusty and Jerome Samson are playing with Staal and have formed a productive trio. But in a perfect world, Carolina would land a player who can provide a long-term fit.

"It's going to be difficult to find that player, but that's our goal," Rutherford said. "Hopefully we can do it this offseason by way of free agency or trade. If we can't, we will just have to keep looking until we get him."

Rutherford said Muller is on board with the assessment that the Hurricanes are not far from a turnaround.

"Based on my conversations with him, he likes all the players here," he said. "He'd give you the same answer -- that finding one or two more players would make a big difference."

With 17 players already under contract for next season -- and the possibility of bringing Allen back -- Carolina might have few roster spots available. If everything falls together, the Hurricanes hope that's all it will take.

"We've built a structure here now that we're close to getting back to where we should be," Rutherford said. "But it's going to be that big move we really need to make, if it becomes available."

Quote of the Day

Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals