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Slap in the face?

I assumed it was merely an oversight yesterday, but here we are 24 hours later and it hasn't been fixed yet: On the Hurricanes' roster page on their Web site, Josef Melichar is listed as wearing No. 2.

Given that the nameplate over Glen Wesley's locker is barely gone and that the Canes intend to retire that number this season, it seems odd they'd be handing it out to a new guy.

I wasn't going to make a big deal out of it yesterday, but I've asked the team for clarification this morning.

Pitkanen will wear No. 25, at least according to the same roster. Looks like Staal and Whitney will wear the As as well.

UPDATE, 11:17 a.m.: A Hurricanes spokesman said Melichar's number was generated by the NHL, which hosts Carolina's Web site, and he would not be wearing No. 2 with the Hurricanes. 

For the record...

...and for the last time:

To the best of my knowledge, the only Carolina players with no-trade clauses are Niclas Wallin and Scott Walker.

Carry on. That is all. 

UPDATE, 11:57 p.m.: Apparently, that's not all. According to someone with knowledge of Ray Whitney's contract, he has a no-trade clause as well.

I hadn't heard that, but the person telling me should know and has no reason to lie. So add Whitney to that list as well. I'll try to verify that tomorrow.

Blue-line trade in the works

As you read in today's paper, the trade for and subsequent signing of Joni Pitkanen, along with the signings of Anton Babchuk and Josef Melichar, leaves the Hurricanes with seven defensemen under contract to go with restricted free agent Dennis Seidenberg and almost $2 million over budget.

In short, someone's going to have to go. But who?

Four top prospects in town next week

Fans can get a look at four of the Hurricanes' blue-chip prospects during their annual conditioning camp, which starts next week and runs through July 12.

Brandon Sutter, the Hurricanes' first-round pick in 2007 and their expected fourth-line center this season, headlines a group that also includes Wisconsin defenseman Jamie McBain, 2008 first-round pick Zach Boychuk and 2008 second-round pick Zac Dalpe.

Pitkanen signs: three years, $12 million

Negotiations with Joni Pitkanen didn't take long. The Canes and the restricted free agent defenseman acquired in Tuesday's trade for Erik Cole agreed to a three-year deal worth $12 million on Wednesday.

Pitkanen will make $3.5 million this season, $4 million in 2009-10 and $4.5 million in 2010-11, making him Carolina's highest-paid defenseman by a wide margin.

The Canes now have seven defensemen under contract and one restricted free agent, Dennis Seidenberg.

They're also over budget at approximately $46.7 million for next season for 21 players, which makes a salary-dump trade of a defenseman all the more likely.

Melichar is next

The Canes continued to retool their defense Wednesday, signing defenseman Josef Melichar to a one-year, $1 million contract.

Melichar, 29, spent six seasons with the Penguins before playing last season in Sweden and his native Czech Republic. The 6-foot-2, 202-pounder has seven goals and 33 assists in 310 career NHL games.

The final chapter on Hordichuk

Apparently, here's why Darcy Hordichuk didn't want to sign with Carolina (he signed a two-year deal with Vancouver instead):

"I want to play in the west because there are a lot more tough guys and that's my job every night," he said. "I'm so excited. I look back at my career and some of my best games have come in front of Canadian fans because that's my style. I like to run around and hit guys and anybody who's willing to drop the gloves. I'm the kind of guy who won't back down. I know my role and any chance I get to fight Georges Laraque and some of the bigger guys out there, I like to test myself against those guys."

 

Cullen still feeling the pain

One of the interesting points of Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford's press conference Tuesday was his frank assessment of Matt Cullen's condition as he attempts to recover from his concussion issues last season.

Justin Williams and Rod Brind'Amour have clean bills of health, but Cullen continues to have issues with his vision, among other problems, although he intends to be at full strength when training camp starts.

Where things stand, July 1

How the Carolina Hurricanes’ salary picture stacks up as of Tuesday:

FORWARDS
Eric Staal, $5 million
Rod Brind’Amour, $4 million
Ray Whitney, $3.55 million
Justin Williams, $3.5 million
Matt Cullen, $2.8 million
Scott Walker, $2.5 million
Sergei Samsonov, $2.3 million
Tuomo Ruutu, $2.25 million
Patrick Eaves, $1.1 million
Brandon Sutter, $875,000
Ryan Bayda, $475,000
Wade Brookbank, $475,000

DEFENSEMEN
Joe Corvo, $2.75 million
Frantisek Kaberle, $2.2 million
Tim Gleason, $2 million
Niclas Wallin, $1.725 million
Anton Babchuk, $1 million
x-David Tanabe, $900,000

GOALTENDERS
Cam Ward, $2.5 million
Michael Leighton, $600,000

BOUGHT OUT

Jeff Hamilton, $600,000

TOTAL SALARY

$43.1 million for 20 players, with a charge of about $43.7 million against the $56.7 million cap. Carolina's budget has been set at $45 million.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (with 2007-08 salary)
Chad LaRose, RW ($500,000); Joni Pitkanen, D ($2.4 million); Dennis Seidenberg, D ($850,000).

RETIRED

Glen Wesley, D.

x-Hurricanes have initiated buyout proceedings with Tanabe and would be responsible for two-thirds of his salary this season if successful.

Canes trade Cole to Edmonton

In one of the least surprising trades in recent memory, the Hurricanes have traded Erik Cole to Edmonton for defenseman Joni Pitkanen.

The Canes hope Pitkanen, a 24-year-old restricted free agent, will give them another puck-moving defenseman and were willing to move an important forward to get that player.

Cole, in the final year of his contract, was the most expendable -- and marketable -- of Carolina's forwards, but his departure deprives the Canes of his unique set of skills.

(updated, 6:52 p.m.)

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