Hurricanes have quiet but successful offseason
Posted July 9, 2013
Updated July 10, 2013
The Carolina Hurricanes quietly had a successful offseason to strengthen their weaknesses prior to the 2013 Prospects Development Camp starting July 16 at PNC Arena. The Hurricanes added two low-risk veteran players, defenseman Mike Komisarek and goaltender Anton Khudobin to the roster on the first day of free agency July 5. Each was signed to a one-year deal - Komisarek will make $700,000 and Khudobin will earn $800,000.
General Manager Jim Rutherford left the 2013 NHL Draft in New Jersey with three impact skaters including forward Elias Lindholm, defenseman Andrej Sekera and defenseman Brett Pesce.
The Hurricanes flirted with moving back to the 8th spot in the draft in exchange for defenseman Andrej Sekera and hoped to draft Lindholm. Rutherford said it was a good thing they didn’t go through with the trade because Lindholm would have been off the board.
“This is a guy that plays the game in all zones at a very high tempo and he likes to play the game with some grit,” Rutherford said while joining Adam and Joe on 99.9 The Fan ESPN Radio Tuesday afternoon. “I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t (make the team this season), but he’s a young guy. We always have to be careful with young guys if they are not quite ready. We’re going to give him every opportunity to play here and I think he will.”
If the 18-year-old, 6-foot, Lindholm fails to make the Hurricanes roster, he will play the season for the professional Swedish hockey team Brynäs IF instead of the Charlotte Checkers. Last season, Lindholm recorded 11 goals and 19 assists in 48 games with Brynäs IF.
The Hurricanes obtained defenseman Andrej Sekera from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for defenseman Jamie McBain and their second round pick. Rutherford considers Sekera, “a top-four guy.”
Third round selection, defenseman Brett Pesce, is considered a three-year project since he has decided to further develop his skills at the University of New Hampshire.
“He’s a little bit of a late bloomer and late developer,” said Rutherford. Pesce is entering his sophomore season at the collegiate level.
Veteran defenseman Tim Gleason gains a talented and experienced counterpart on the blue line in Komisarek.
“He’s got great leadership,” Rutherford said. “He’s great in the dressing room, which was important to us. He’ll stick up for his teammates when he needs to and brings some leadership qualities.”
Komisarek was drafted 7th overall in 2001 at the age of 18 by the Montreal Canadiens and later signed a long-term contract with Toronto Maple Leafs.
“He’s a relatively young guy,” said Rutherford. “He’s still got lots of game left in him. The fact that we could add another big guy back on our blue line was very important. He likes to play physical.”
Rutherford said the Hurricanes now have four fighters on their squad to compete with the scrappy teams, including new division rivals Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers.
Another addition to the squad is a much needed backup netminder in Anton Khudobin. The 27-year-old goaltender had a 9-4-1 record with a solid 2.32 goals-against average and .920 save percentage last season with the Boston Bruins. Last season’s backup goaltender Dan Ellis signed with the Dallas Stars last week.