It wasn’t completely without drama, but Chad LaRose
and the Hurricanes are happy things happened more quickly this time around.
On Wednesday, two days before LaRose would have hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent, the two sides agreed to a new two-year deal
identical in its basic terms to the one they had in place for the last two seasons
. That particular contract was harder to come by, as LaRose did not sign until July 2 when other teams had already entered the race for his services.
With the stress of that experience still fresh, LaRose said that the entire process was easier this summer.
”I was a lot more comfortable this time than I was two years ago,” he said. “I knew that I wanted to stay here and that I love it here. I really think that we can win here.”
By re-signing, LaRose stays with the only organization he’s ever known, having come up through the Compuware youth hockey system in his native Detroit area before moving on to play junior hockey with the Plymouth Whalers and signing his first professional contract with the Hurricanes in 2003. All are owned by Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos.
“Mr. Karmanos has owned me since I was a kid, so that’s a big part of it,” said LaRose. “They’ve been a big part of my career and have done so much for me.”
Those past ties in mind, LaRose said that his desire to return had just as much to do with his future.
“It was just a good group of guys last year and I think we’re only going to continue to grow with the young guys that we have because now they have experience,” he said.
“You know where your heart is. We can win with this group of guys, and that was my driving force for signing here. I’d love to play my whole career here.”
LaRose, who has become the de-facto organizer of player-led offseason workouts since Rod Brind’Amour retired, said that he planned to resume regular skating on July 10.
The signing of LaRose whittles the Hurricanes' list of big-name unrestricted free agents down to Erik Cole, Jussi Jokinen and Cory Stillman. Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford has indicated that Cole and Jokinen may test the open market on July 1 and that he expects Stillman to make a decision on his playing future sometime next week.