Thursday, July 1, 2010

Goodbye Whitney; Hello, again, Babchuk

The first day of the NHL's free agency period saw more comings and goings as the Carolina Hurricanes continue to get younger.

The Hurricanes brought defenseman Anton Babchuk, an effective member of their 2008-09 squad, back to the team following a one-year absence. At the same time, veteran fan-favorite Ray Whitney signed a 2-year deal with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Whitney's departure became more and more imminent during the run-up to Thursday's opening of the free-agent market. With the Hurricanes determined to keep payroll on the lower end of the salary-cap spectrum for 2010-11, there wasn't going to be a place for a 38-year-old left winger.

That's not to say that Whitney doesn't have value. His lockerroom presence is immense and he did contribute 21 goals and 37 assists last season. That makes four consecutive seasons he's notched at least 20 goals.

But the reported $6 million Whitney will receive from Phoenix over the life of his new contract probably exceeds what he will produce in the waning years of his career.

Babcuck, 26, comes back to Carolina after playing in Russia last season. He'll make $1.4 million for the Hurricanes in 2010-11. He played well during his last stint for the Canes, establishing career highs in goals (16) and assists (19) in the 2008-09 season.


  1. As a fan of old guys - hey, I liked the Over the Hill Gang - I'm not fond of the Hurricanes getting so young. The average age of a Hurricane player right now is 27 years old. The oldest players on the roster are 33, 32 and 32.
    To be a great team, you need some wily veterans. Having said that, it was probably time to get a little younger but hopefully the Hurricanes will bring in a couple of veterans to be positive influences on the younger players and to get the job done at crunch time.

  2. I like seeing the Canes get younger. Last year, at the beginning of the season, they just didn't seem to have a lot of jump in their legs. Brandon Sutter looked like their best player at times. You knew the roster would get overhauled with younger talent, so I think doing it now, in one swoop, makes sense. I'm really curious to see how it all comes together and think they've found some exciting young players.