NHL free agency began Friday at noon, and the Canes quickly were in the thick of it, signing goaltender Brian Boucher and center Tim Brent to two-year contracts while losing forward Erik Cole to the Montreal Canadiens.
Boucher, who was the backup goalie for the Philadelphia Flyers last season, will receive a total of $1.9 million. Brent's two-year deal is worth $1.5 million.
The Canes also have re-signed forward Jiri Tlusty to a one-year deal worth $525,000.
"We accomplished most things today," Canes general manager Jim Rutherford said. "Unfortunately we were not able to keep Erik Cole. ... We were able to get our backup goalie and our fourth-line center, the ones we were hoping to get."
Boucher, 34, was 18-10-4 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .916 save percentage last season in Philadelphia. He has 314 games of NHL experience and 119 career wins.
"He's an experienced NHL goalie that will help our team and will be a good partner for Cam (Ward)," Rutherford said. "He was on the top of our list. I asked (goaltending coach) Tom Barrasso at the end of the season to put together a list of potential goalies that we could pick up and prioritize them. That was his No. 1 choice."
Brent, who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, will be paid $700,000 next season and $800,000 in 2012-2013.
Rutherford had said he wanted to sign a fourth-line center who was strong on faceoffs, a capable penalty killer and was affordable. Brent, who was 52 percent on draws last season, met all the criteria.
Brent, 27, tore a pectoral muscle in a preseason game before the 2009-2010 season, sidelining him for four months. Once healthy, he played 33 games for the Toronto Marlies, then was able to play for the Leafs in their final regular-season game.
He was durable this past season, appearing in 79 games for the Leafs, scoring eight goals and picking up 12 assists. He blocked 58 shots and averaged 1:58 in shorthanded time last season, tops among the Leafs' forwards.
"He had a good year last year and I think he's an ideal fit for us," Rutherford said. "He's got great character, he's a good penalty killer, a good faceoff guy and will be a good fit. He also played the point on the power play a little bit, which he may get that opportunity here."
Brent had some big moments against the Canes last season. In a Jan. 24 game in Raleigh, he had two goals -- one shorthanded -- and three points, albeit in a 6-4 loss.
On Feb. 3 in Toronto, Brent helped kill off a Canes' 5-on-3, going down to the ice three times to block shots as Carolina failed to score. The Leafs, leading 1-0 at the time, won 3-0.
Tlusty, 23, notched six goals and earned six assists in 57 games for the Canes last season.