The Hurricanes continued a busy few weeks of transactions on Tuesday, acquiring forward Ryan Carter from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for prospects Stefan Chaput and Matt Kennedy.
Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford believes that Carter, a 27-year-old center who had been playing in the fourth line in Anaheim this season alongside recent Hurricanes waiver acquisition Troy Bodie, can help the team in two areas they’ve struggled in thus far.
“He’s a very useful guy that can play in your top nine at times and can play in that fourth-line spot and kill penalties,” said Rutherford. “Over his career he’s had a good success rate in faceoffs, which is something we’d like to upgrade.”
Carolina currently ranks 28th in penalty killing with a 73.3 percent success rate and last in faceoff percentage at 39.9 percent. This season, Carter has won 50.3 percent of his draws, making him the instant leader among full-time centers in the Hurricanes’ clubhouse.
Rutherford said that Carter will take the red-eye from Anaheim, should arrive very early Wednesday morning and then play that night’s home game against the Washington Capitals.
“It probably won’t be the ideal preparation,” acknowledged Rutherford.
No further roster movement is expected before tomorrow night’s game, meaning that one forward will be a healthy scratch. Based purely on position, Jon Matsumoto seems like the safest bet to sit out, although Rutherford said that would be a decision for coach Paul Maurice.
No assignments to Charlotte of the American Hockey League will take place immediately, although that seems like a possibility at some point.
“My preference is not to have guys sitting out,” said Rutherford.
Unlike Patrick O’Sullivan, who left the Hurricanes for Minnesota, Carter cleared waivers on Tuesday afternoon. The departure of O’Sullivan’s contract, along with the movement of future bonus money due to Chaput and Kennedy, is what allowed the Hurricanes to acquire Carter.
“We were trying to make things work out contract-wise,” said Rutherford.
Carter is on the final year of a three-year, one-way deal worth $750,000 this season that will make him an unrestricted free agent. Rutherford said that there was nothing to the fact that all of his recently-acquired players, including Carter, Bodie, Ian White and Brett Sutter, will be free agents at the end of this season.
“Not necessarily, because we can always re-sign these players,” he said. “These are players we like that we think can help.”