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Dog Days Roundup

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes
After a busier-than-usual July, things have quieted down in a hurry at the beginning of August. While there hasn’t been a lot of big news since the trade for Aaron Ward and the buyout of Frank Kaberle, here’s a round-up of some other things that have been going on.

Paul Branecky
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What About Anton?
It’s now a given that he’ll be traded, most likely for a prospect or a draft pick, but it doesn’t seem like anything is imminent. With the NHL roster just about set, it’s not as though the Hurricanes are in a rush to move him in order to fill glaring holes on their roster, either. The team can take their time with this one, as Babchuk has nowhere to go but back to the Russian league, where the Hurricanes would retain his rights.

Are we Done?
Although several good players are still available – it’s hard to believe that a player of Alex Tanguay’s caliber is still looking for a job – we’ve now reached the point of the offseason where the initial boom of free agent signings has given way to the chirping of crickets. 

As training camps draw closer and closer, that should serve to drive down the prices of the remaining free agent players, which should be a good thing for the Hurricanes. Jim Rutherford used the musical chairs analogy to describe the entire free agent process, and it could be that the Hurricanes are able to snag a more desperate player at a bargain price once the music stops. That doesn’t have to be the case as the team is comfortable enough with the current roster, but it’s something to keep an eye on. A list of notable players still looking for homes can be found here.

Eaves to Detroit
After being traded and bought out on the same day (during his honeymoon, no less!), it’s nice to see Patrick Eaves land on his feet in Detroit. Now that he’s out west and is only scheduled to play against Carolina once next season, barring a possible meeting in the Stanley Cup Finals, I can safely say that I hope he finds his form in Detroit.

Looking back on Eaves’ time with the Hurricanes, he never returned to the 20-goal mark of his rookie season with Ottawa, instead settling in to a checking line role. Although effective in that capacity, his salary was a little too high for it. Moving forward, he didn’t fit in well to the organization’s new vision to add size and toughness, with the acquisition of the more rugged Tom Kostopoulos making him expendable. Eaves often seemed a little jittery when facing the prospect of having to prove himself on every shift with limited ice time, which is understandable, but didn’t quite show enough when given the opportunity to fill a scoring role.

It’s a reasonable investment for the Wings, who are only paying him about $500K for one year, according to That’s a fair price even if he doesn’t have an offensive breakout and a steal if he does. Although it still amounts to a pay cut from the $1.4 million he was due to earn in Carolina, Eaves still gets a buyout check from Boston as well.

International Canes

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Finnish Trio
Although Tuomo Ruutu confirmed it to us earlier, all three Finns on the Hurricanes roster were officially invited to the national team camp yesterday. I’d be very surprised if any one of Ruutu, Jussi Jokinen and Joni Pitkanen missed out on the eventual Olympic roster.

That trio joins Tim Gleason (USA) and Eric Staal and Cam Ward (Canada) as players receiving invites to their country’s Olympic orientation camps. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need an invite to this camp to make the final roster, as a great start to the season could change things in a hurry. Keep your eyes on Andrew Alberts, Erik Cole, Joe Corvo, Matt Cullen and Chad LaRose, who have all played for Team USA at some point in their careers.

Although I didn’t consider him a lock to make the Russian Olympic team due to its glut of skilled forwards, Sergei Samonsov was an interesting omission from orientation camp. Consider that NHL’ers Evgeny Artyukhin (16 points), Maxim Afinogenov (20) and Nikolai Kulemin (31) received invites despite having fewer points than Samsonov’s 48 during the regular season. Also receiving invites were four Russian-based forwards with zero NHL experience.

That’s about it for now, as we continue to count the days until the rookie tournament in early September. Although it’s a slower time for me coverage-wise, we’re launching a new look for at the end of this month, so keep your eyes open for that.

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