Carolina's signing of Stephane Yelle is bad news for Michael Ryan, who until now was the front-runner for the fourth-line center spot, but good news for everyone else. Yelle is a perfect fit in that role.
At 35, he has lost a step or two, which is why he was available for the bargain price of $550,000, but he's still one of the better defensive role centers in the NHL, a faceoff ace and a good fit in Carolina's hard-working dressing room. The combination of Eric Staal, Matt Cullen, Rod Brind'Amour and Yelle down the middle is about as deep as any in the league.
The summer started out slowly for the Hurricanes, but with the addition of Aaron Ward, Andrew Alberts and now Yelle, their overall defensive game has been substantially upgraded.
Additionally, the Yelle signing allows Brandon Sutter to spend next season in the AHL, which is undoubtedly the best spot for his long-term development, and Jussi Jokinen to play on the wing in Carolina's top nine.
With Yelle on board, here's a rough guess at the lines:
Conboy becomes the seventh defenseman, which means Carolina's roster is more or less set, barring any unexpected training-camp developments.