Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said the trade market has been quiet during draft week, didn't get any offers worth considering for the 27th pick and doesn't expect to make a deal anytime soon.
Famous last words — things can change quickly when GMs get bored during the second day of the draft — but Rutherford said contract negotiations with Erik Cole and Chad LaRose are currently the only items on his agenda. And even if they hit the market, he plans to lay low for a while.
“Our goal really is to bring back as much of the team as we finished the season with,” Rutherford said Friday. “We’ll have a better idea in the next week if LaRose and Cole are going to get signed. And if they’re not, we’re going to back off the early part of July, because I think teams pay a premium (for those free agents) during the early part.
“We’ll sit back and see what players filter down to us. There will be a lot of players available in August. With that being said, I hope we don’t get to that point. I hope we can re-sign our own players.”
After expressing initial optimism over the Cole and LaRose negotiations, Rutherford has started to backtrack a bit. (Consider this pointed posting on the Hurricanes' team Web site.) That kind of posturing is natural and ordinary at this time of year, but openly considering the future without Cole and LaRose is another, significant step up the ladder.
As for potential deals, the Hurricanes still hold Anton Babchuk's rights — for the moment. As his perceived value was inflated by his 16 goals, he may end up getting better offers to return to Russia than from the Hurricanes. If there's an NHL team that wants the restricted free agent for its power play, his rights could move for a draft pick in a hurry during the second day of the draft. The Canes wanted a second-round pick for him last year; here's guessing they'd take a fourth-rounder tomorrow.