Mike Maniscalco

Payroll, positioning force Canes' hand at deadline

Posted April 3, 2013

— The NHL trade deadline has as much to do today with where teams are at relative to the salary cap as it does with where a team is in the standings.

The Carolina Hurricanes, just four points out of first place in the Southeast division, have been in a tailspin the last 10 games. Whereas the deadline used to be just the thing to pull a team out of a slide, modern day deals are seen through a different lens, and what the Canes front office is seeing has them in a tough place.

"Based on the position we have put ourselves in the last two or three weeks, I wasn’t going to trade younger players or high draft picks for somebody that may or may not make a difference here in the last month," said president and general manager Jim Rutherford. 

Rutherford: It's hard to be confident Rutherford: It's hard to be confident

In years past, a deal would shake up the dynamic of a team. Wednesday, the team dealt Jussi Jokinen to Pittsburgh for a conditional pick, not to improve the on-ice product, but the bottom line. 

“It’s all about preparing our payroll," Rutherford said. "We spent more money this year, we just signed some new contracts and we were in a position that we had to move some money out.”

Penguins GM Ray Shero told TSN that Jussi Jokinen was worth adding to the Pens based on the cost to acquire him. That sentiment is what every front office boss was looking for today, bringing in talent based on cost. The Hurricanes will pick up some of Jokinen’s contract which makes it worthwhile for Pittsburgh and still sheds some of the financial burden on Carolina.

"The main point of Jussi’s deal wasn’t about him or him as a player," Rutherford said. "It was about what we are doing now and going forward payroll wise. We put him on waivers last week and at that point we were willing to not get anything back for him."

Fans are going to be upset that the organization did not make a deal to bring more talent into the Triangle. In reality, what did the Canes have to trade and how much salary can they take on?

There were 17 trades in the NHL on deadline day and a few big names with big contracts did move for what looks like nothing to the Hurricane fan base. 

To be in the race for a player like Marion Gaborik it would start with young defenseman Ryan Murphy, an NHL player and picks. You might think that making that deal is a no-brainer, but adding an aging player with a huge contract isn’t something that a team in Carolina’s position can easily do.

"How aggressive do you get on making a deal and how far do you want to go?" Rutherford propositioned. "Do you really want to trade one of your first or second round picks or trade(Zac) Dalpe? I think that would have been very risky for us. This is about as tough a position to be in. A team on a big losing streak. We know we are a better team than that we are playing and not having a deal that could give us a boost.”

Operating under a budget for a squad that has missed the playoffs the last three seasons make it harder to green light picking up a huge salary and giving up young players without the guarantee of post-season play.

So did that make the Hurricanes sellers on Wednesday?

First off, what did they have to sell? Second, the assets that could bring in a cache of talent aren't going anywhere.

The team is not going to move Eric or Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner or the newly signed Alexander Semin. Those are the players that will have to carry the team in the future. Plus a team will rarely fetch a return that equals giving up a franchise player.

“As much as I wanted to make a deal, there wasn’t any deal that made any sense," Rutherford said. "Overall, I don’t think there were as many players available that could really impact or make a difference in what we are doing.”

It is possible Joni Pitkanen could have been on the block, but Rutherford said the team had no interest in dealing him, so his injury had nothing to do with him staying put.

Add into the fact that a player’s salary has as much to do with a player being coveted as his goals. What a calculator spews out as the bottom line is more important than the stat sheet pointing out players’ production. So If the team wanted to sell, the trade partner had to be willing to take on a big contract and gone are the days that star player is swapped for star player.

Much like every deal in the NBA, the money has to match-up more than the talent. We probably aren't too far off from the 12-player, three-team and Keith Van Horne's expiring contract deals that will headline the NHL.

There were a lot of teams Wednesday that would have liked to improve its line-up, that for financial terms, simply couldn’t. Some teams were not willing to make deals because the asking price of players, prospects and picks was just too high. Carolina found both of those situations to be the case. 

The next logical question is can the current roster turn this around and end the playoff drought?

"Certainly we are not sitting here saying its over but the most frustrating part is that in the first part of the season we showed what kind of team we had and we are a very capable team and we played very well," Rutherford said.

24 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • evenflow2005 Apr 4, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Evidently you know nothing about hockey rules to come on here and make this comment. Thanks for your opinion and will see ya later.

  • StunGunn Apr 4, 2013

    View quoted thread



    jdpridg - I was agreeing with the part about keeping the Canes here in Raleigh, not the "fair weather fans" part. I do think fans of all sports have a right to voice their frustration as well as happiness, depending on how the team is doing. I've never agreed with fans who call you out or call you a "fair weather fan" just because you say something negative. I've always been a realist here, and some folks seem to think unless you're "rah-rah" about your team, you're not a good fan. I don't feel that way, and never have. While I'm not happy with the way the Canes have performed the past three years, I still support them, and like you, want them to stay in Raleigh.

  • evenflow2005 Apr 4, 2013

    View quoted thread

    I also hope your right. But, look what happened to Atlanta. And Winnipeg has sold out every game since the move. Money and investments can move very fast from hand to hand. Lets just hope their isn't any Canadian cities that are itching really bad for a team any time soon. It's not that far out of reach to happen.

  • livefreeNC Apr 4, 2013

    What a sad state of affairs for a team with so much promise. Why can we make such positive moves as signing a Semin or Jordan Staal and turn around and search the bargain bin for bottom six and defensive players? Why do we quibble over dollars when we need somebody yet when times are better we pay undrafted barely NHL quality 4th liners 1.6 or 1.8 mil per year? I know it is all about the money and cap but how do we expect our key parts to perform when the accompanying players are not up to the job. I question too, how much coaching influence does JR exert over Muller. JR was a goalie and certainly should appreciate a solid defense but always seems to skimp here. Letting Seidenberg go still haunts us on the blue line. Why do we rush to ship reasonable performing young guys back to Charlotte just because the underperforming journeyman veteran is healthy again(save salary), why else would we play a guy like LaRose in the top six, much less give him powerplay time when he would have to work hard to crack the top 6 on any AHL team? Why do we struggle on the powerplay yet continue to use the same personnel in spots they can’t succeed. Joe Corvo is not most teams go to on the PP point. I guess when Cam when out we should have known that this season was toast, now JR seems to be officially throwing in the towel.

  • ellengraham5660 Apr 4, 2013

    I would rather watch paint dry than go to another one of these games! It is even more BORING than golf...................

  • atc2 Apr 4, 2013

    I also understand the payroll topic, but this is due to Rutherford or Rutherford and team who put these player numbers together. Perfect example: Cam Ward is not a $6M player of top 10 goalie. His pay should be approx $4M. Eric Staal is NOT a play maker and does not hustle for three periods (he should be paid no more than $6M). That alone is a $4M savings which brings in a solid two way defenseman. LaRose get's paid to much, Skinner is only a $4M dollar player, another approx $3M savings. What the H_LL is this GM thinking. Your overpaying to try to build a team and they do not play 60 minutes every night. Any other team would have gotten rid of their GM 2 years ago. I will buy season tickets as I have since DAY ONE in that awful city of Greensboro. But playoff tickets, no. This team is great on paper, but Rutherford and Francis do NOT know how to but a talented team on ice. These past 6 out of 7 years are on Rutherford now (I like him, but time to go)

  • SubwayScoundrel Apr 4, 2013

    As a long time STH, I understand the payroll issues and I understand why JR did not make a big move yesterday. There were few trades, they just payed big to J Staal and Semin, they have young guys coming up who will need to be paid. Jussi got traded since he makes a chunk, he is having a off year and they signed Semin. Pens got him for a song. For the Joni talk, people can say what they want about Joni on how he will not shoot or hit, but to this long time STH who sat through 2003 and other years when the canes could not get the puck up the ice, Joni can get the puck up the ice. It seems like everyone ignores that when they repeat the "anti-Joni" comments they heard from someone else. Like a bad rumor.

  • common tater Apr 4, 2013

    All this salary stuff is way over my head...the canes are paying part of his salary to play for another team?? All I can say is there are lots of other teams who can stay within budget and put winning teams on the ice. Maybe it's time for new management.

  • larryengel Apr 4, 2013

    So why is JR coaching who should do what on the ice? Is Muller just coaching as per JR's requests? That is not good but explains why Joni was on the ice so long this season and pre Muller, etc. Let the players play to their strengths, ie Jordan in front of the net as a screen and to get dirty goals. Is JR telling Skinner to not pass to anyone as well? Team has to get back to team play, like line #1. If we start winning again, "maybe" the front office will look at why... BTW, sure would have been nice to have picked up Clowe instead of NY for maybe #25. Oh well, team HAS shown they can win as a team...let them play as one JR & Muller?

  • same ole story Apr 4, 2013

    So Rutherford has thrown in the towel for this year!!!!!! WOW!?! How is a team supposed to get motivated when the management doesn't have faith in the team??? Easy they punch the clock, get the pay checks, and wait till next year!!!!! Jimmy boy better start giving away tickets to get fans in the seats for the product he is putting on the ice!! If he doesn't know how to manage a small market team then STEP ASIDE!!! You want us to spend our hard earned money on this when you don't even try to get a winner???? See you in a couple of years ...MAYBE!!! If you demonstrate that you care about winning and not only revenue!!!

More...

 

 

  • ACC: Syracuse at NC State

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida at Kentucky

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Pac 12: Stanford at Arizona

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Big Ten: Wisconsin at Minnesota

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NBA: Dallas at Portland

    Tonight at 9:30 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Minnesota

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
BRK 91
CHA 115
Final
DUKE 94
WAKE 51
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
TEMPL
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCCU
NCAT
 
Final
LOS 4
CWS 6
 
Final
CLE 4
CIN 2
 
Final
TEX 2
KAN 13
 
Final
SFG 2
OAK 9
 
Final
SEA 4
SDP 3
 
Final
MIL 8
WMIL 0
 
Final
COL 3
ARI 6
 
Final
MIN 3
UMIN 1
 
1:05pm Today
DET
ATL
 
1:05pm Today
TAM
BAL
 
1:05pm Today
PIT
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
HOU
PHI
 
1:05pm Today
MIA
STL
 
3:05pm Today
SFG
CHC
 
3:05pm Today
CIN
CLE
 
3:05pm Today
CWS
LOS
 
3:05pm Today
ANA
MIL
 
3:05pm Today
CHC
OAK
 
3:05pm Today
SEA
SDP
 
3:05pm Today
KAN
TEX
 
3:10pm Today
ARI
COL
 
5:05pm Tonight
WAS
NYM
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIN
BOS
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
TOR
 
Final
IND 105
NYK 82
Final
ORL 100
PHO 105
Final
BRK 91
CHA 115
Final
TOR 112
CLE 120
Final
BOS 85
UTA 84
Final
MIN 85
DEN 100
Final
NOP 88
DET 85
 
Final
MIA 100
LAL 94
Final
HOU 100
MEM 102
Final
OKC 123
PHI 118
Final
SAN 112
SAC 85
Final
GSW 102
MIL 93
Final
LAC 93
POR 98
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
OKC
 
10:30pm Tonight
POR
DAL
 
Final
UNCA 80
LIB 70
 
Final
PSU 67
OSU 77
Final
USB 62
BING 57
 
Final
FORD 66
DUQ 81
Final
GMAS 51
GWU 67
Final
UNH 67
HART 63
 
Final
STJOE 55
LAS 50
Final
Terriers 79
LIU 70
 
Final
GTDNS 83
MAINE 66
 
Final
LOU 59
ND 71
Final
SHU 66
PROV 79
Final
BRY 91
SHU 85
 
Final
MORE 79
SEMIZ 74
Final
MNTER 58
RFLSH 73
 
Final
LSU 63
TENN 78
Final
SFLA 74
UCF 45
Final
VERM 66
UMBC 39
 
Final
RMU 91
WAGN 68
 
Final
UMASS 53
RICH 56
Final
TULA 63
HOU 68
Final
YALE 71
HOW 62
 
Final
PITT 63
MIAMI 67
Final
TXPA 48
NMST 69
 
Final
MSU 72
PURD 66
Final
STLU 48
BONA 64
Final
DUKE 94
WAKE 51
Final
TULSA 47
CIN 56
Final
VANDY 66
MSST 56
Final
OKST 82
TCU 70
Final
UCLA 85
USC 74
Final
WYO 76
UTST 53
Final
MARQ 51
STJ 67
Final
EILL 78
SIUE 66
Final
FRES 68
AFA 66
Final
NEV 62
COLST 78
Final
ILL 69
NEB 57
Final
SJST 51
BSU 68
Final
ORST 62
OREG 65
Final
UNLV 58
SDST 60
Final
HAW 90
UCSB 98
 
5:00pm Tonight
SIENA
NIAG
 
7:00pm Tonight
LEH
AMER
 
7:00pm Tonight
SCAR
ARK
 
7:00pm Tonight
LAF
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
PETE
FAIR
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
HC
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNF
LIP
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENNM
MORE
 
7:00pm Tonight
COL
NAVY
 
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
TEMPL
 
7:00pm Tonight
FATL
UAB
 
7:00pm Tonight
FLGC
USCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHAR
WKENT
 
7:00pm Tonight
MINN
WISC
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIZST
SILL
 
7:30pm Tonight
COPST
DELST
 
7:30pm Tonight
FIU
MTST
 
7:30pm Tonight
MDES
MRGST
 
7:30pm Tonight
HAMP
NORST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCCU
NCAT
 
7:30pm Tonight
COOK
SCST
 
7:30pm Tonight
APP
TXST
 
7:30pm Tonight
GSOUT
TXARL
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAMON
UGST
 
8:00pm Tonight
ODU
MARS
 
8:00pm Tonight
TXSA
RICE
 
8:00pm Tonight
FAM
SAV
 
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
SMISS
 
8:15pm Tonight
LALAF
ARKLR
 
8:30pm Tonight
JST
ALAAM
 
8:30pm Tonight
GRAM
ALAST
 
8:30pm Tonight
TXSOU
ALCOR
 
8:30pm Tonight
MVSU
ARKPB
 
8:30pm Tonight
NICST
CARK
 
8:30pm Tonight
TAMCC
HOUB
 
8:30pm Tonight
NARZ
PORST
 
8:30pm Tonight
LAM
SHSU
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARKST
SALA
 
8:30pm Tonight
PVU
SOUTH
 
8:45pm Tonight
NO
SELA
 
9:00pm Tonight
INCWORD
ABCHRIST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARZ
CAL
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
COL
 
9:00pm Tonight
BEL
EILL
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
IDAHO
 
9:00pm Tonight
QUIN
MAR
 
9:00pm Tonight
UCONN
MEM
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
UNT
 
9:00pm Tonight
STEPH
NWST
 
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
SACST
 
9:00pm Tonight
DAVID
VCU
 
9:05pm Tonight
IDST
EWASH
 
9:35pm Tonight
DRAK
BRAD
 
10:00pm Tonight
LBSU
CSNO
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCI
CSFU
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
UCR
 
11:00pm Tonight
ARST
STAN
 
11:00pm Tonight
WASU
UTAH
 
Final
WIN 1
OTT 3
Final
DET 2
NYR 1
Final
ANA 3
MON 1
Final
COL 3
PIT 1
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
CAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
MIN
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
STL
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
DAL
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
NYI
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
VAN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
MON