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Canes Close in on UFA Signing; Updated Draft Possibilities

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes
Before our live draft coverage kicks off from Minnesota tonight (live chat scheduled for 6:30 but could kick off earlier. Follow nhl_canes and PaulBranecky on Twitter for updates), a few news items:

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  • For the first time in a long time, Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford seemed genuinely optimistic about signing one of his unrestricted free agents – a group that includes Erik Cole, Patrick Dwyer, Jussi Jokinen, Chad LaRose, Joni Pitkanen and Cory Stillman. Talks were scheduled to continue throughout the day, with news potentially coming as soon as today.

    Of that group, Jokinen and Pitkanen are most likely to test the open market on July 1.

  • After more research, I believe we can narrow down the group of players in the mix for the Hurricanes with the 12th overall pick tonight. Using the 11 players profiled on this site over the last few weeks as a base, it seems as though Sven Bartschi, Oskar Klefbom, Jamieson Oleksiak and Duncan Siemens can be ruled out. That leaves the following (in alphabetical order – click links for profiles):

    Unless something should change between now and the draft (possible) or one of Dougie Hamilton, Jonathan Huberdeau, Gabriel Landeskog, Adam Larsson or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins falls to the Canes at No. 12 – which would be quite a surprise – I believe the Hurricanes’ pick will be in that group. The Canes themselves aren’t sure who they’ll end up with, as teams ahead of them are thought to have a wide range of preferences.
I hope to see you all at the chat later this evening to further discuss. As mentioned, we’ll have quotes, reactions and updates from the Hurricanes’ pick, Rutherford and chief scout Tony MacDonald as soon as we can get them.

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