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Canes could get quick answer on Cole

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Canes forwards Erik Cole and Chad LaRose, as unrestricted free agents, went on the open market at noon today when the NHL signing period began.

But for how long?

Canes general manager Jim Rutherford said today that although there are no guarantees, Cole may wind up returning. He said Cole has said he will not drag out the free-agent process.

"Erik is working hard to work with us," Rutherford said. "He'll still go into free agency but has said he will not stay out there long if he does not see a big deal he can get.

"I don't think we're far apart with Erik. We've had several good conversations in the last 24 hours in Erik's case. I see his point of view. He's willing to take a pay cut but wants to see if there's a big deal out there. There's not the same frustration with Erik."

LaRose is coming off a career season in which he scored 19 goals. He was paid $875,000 last season and may be able to secure a better deal on the open market than Carolina has offered.

"I'd like to sign both," Rutherford said. "My position has changed. I only have so much (money) to do it. If we can do it within those numbers, we'll do it."

Another negotiating snag also has developed. Defenseman Anton Babchuk, a restricted free agent, was given a qualifying offer of $1 million — the same salary as last season — and Rutherford said Babchuk has said he will not play for the qualifier.

Babchuk has no arbitration rights. He could return to Russia to play hockey. Another option could be the Canes trading him.

"We have an issue with Babchuk," Rutherford said.



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Cole is about to re-sign for 2 years per TSN

Just Saw It

Nice - kind of surprising.

Not really

Consensus, even here, was that he wasn't gonna get what he thought he could... let's see what the terms turn out to be... I'm guessing ~5M over 2yrs.

I do not see cole/larose returning

Cole is from upstate NY. I see him going to Buffalo or if montreal checks his stats in their building...I see him getting an offer from them.
As for Larose, I think he should show some loyalty to Carolina personally. If they both sign elsewhere quick...they had their minds made up already. I am ready for some players we have drafted to step in. I would like to see a trade or signing of a proven d-man that has some grit.

Part of the problem with

Part of the problem with Babchuk may be Rutherford himself. When the talks with Seidenberg didn't go anywhere, Babchuk was a key top 4 dman. Now, Rutherford comes in with a QO at the same salary as he made last year. He can't have it both ways.



There are a ridiculous amount of good players still available, including our very own Cole and LaRose.

As In

Hossa, etc...before you blast me....I don't like Hossa either....but you get the point.

Etc ???

OK, so Hossa went for more than most teams, including the Canes would have spent... who else is in Etc.???

As of this posting (~4pm), Gaborik, Havlat, Komisarek, Cammelleri are all still out there... as are the 3 UFA's from the Canes that thought they would do better today.  In my book, it's still way early, but to say there's nobody left is just wrong.

 Now let's see what we have so far, for those who are keeping score & think JR's too cheap (he isn't... he's smart not to pay these prices)...  here's the lowlights....

Spacek gets $11M+ over 3yrs (GACK!!!)

Hossa signs until his 40th birthday (GACK!!!!!)

Brashear gets $2.8 over 2 to go to the Rangers (Whaa??)

 Ohland gets $26M+ over 7 in TB (GACKKKKK!!!!)

 ... in other news...

Knuble gets $5.8 over 2 to go to the caps (not bad, IMO)

Roloson gets $5 over 2 to the NYI (DiPietro 15 yr contract buyout ALERT!!!)


As of 2:38, all the good ones are taken...who do we get stuck with....oh yeah.....we have to wait until August...

a few thoughts

Is it just me, or does the fact that Jim Rutherford is coming out in the media saying that Cole is just looking to see if their is a big deal out there, but is willing to take a pay cut in Carolina, severely hamper Cole's ability to get said "big" offer? Nice job of negotiating through the media perhaps, but if I were Cole's agent I probably wouldn't be too happy right about now.

I'm starting to wonder if there is not some (or quite a bit) of lingering animosity held over between the club and LaRose (or at the very least his agent) after the protracted negotiations and arbitration prior to last season.

Babs. Sigh. I love the kid. So much potential. But just seems to be all over the place in his head. We gave the guy a break (and a million dollars) in accepting him back last year. Sure he might be worth more than $1 million per based on last season's stats and development (playoff performance not with-standing), but it's just ONE SEASON in what has so far been a wildly inconsistent and flighty career. IMHO, he should take the qualifier, prove this season was not a fluke, continue to develop and cash in next year. Whether that be with the Canes or elsewhere. Or, you can go back to Russia, solidify your reputation as a head case, and see who wants to take a chance on you next time around. Good luck Babs.



It's interesting to see how the tone changes in just 24 hours. JR always plays these negotiations close to the vest. I wonder how long Cole listens to the market before making a decision. I still have to believe Carolina gets some sort of hometown discount in any comparison he does, i.e. another team would have to blow JR's offer out of the water to pull him.

Too bad about Babs... He can certainly do better $-wise in the KHL, but I wish he'd give himself a chance to develop an NHL career. JR gave him a second chance to get back into this league... it seems Babs is getting some pretty near-sighted advice when you look at how NHL D-men (of nearly every calibre) are overpaid these days (see Finger, Commodore, and now Oduya for examples).

I've enjoyed watching his growth this year (playoffs bust notwithstanding), would have be nice to see what he'd turn into eventually in Carolina.


I have a high regard for Babchuk, but he does seem to be a high maintenance personality. I hope that Jim Rutherford and Babchuk would arrive at a two year deal to pay him fair market value for his services. The qualifying offer is perfectly legitimate under the CBA, but probably does not reflect Babchuk's value to the team. Jim Rutherford has one of the most stressful jobs in all of professional sports.

Bye Bye Babchuk

See ya. No need for another David Tanabe around here.
Trade him for a bag of pucks and be done with him.

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About the blogger

A Raleigh native, Chip has worked at the N&O since 1979 and is the Canes beat writer. He can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter at @ice_chip.