As the next generation of would-be Carolina Hurricanes goes through the July ritual of development camp, the current generation still needs some help. While the Hurricanes continue to sniff around free-agent defenseman Ron Hainsey, there’s another player who may fill a bigger need. There is one free agent still out there who was a teammate of Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller with the Dallas Stars, a 34-year-old left wing who scored 12 goals in 44 games last season, although his contributions here would go far beyond production. Brenden Morrow is still out there. Morrow’s agent, Brad Devine, confirmed via email Wednesday that he talked with the Hurricanes earlier this summer and expected to talk with them again. Meanwhile, doors appear to be closing at other more likely destinations, like Montreal and Detroit. Whether the Hurricanes could even afford him remains uncertain. The Hurricanes have almost $5 million in cap space, but they’re up against their internal budget with a payroll of $59.3 million. They could maybe add another million and change, but they would likely have to move a contract to add Morrow, just as they would to add Hainsey, a rumored target. Hainsey would be a fantastic addition to the Hurricanes’ defense, but unless they’re moving Joni Pitkanen to make room, it doesn’t make as much sense at this point. Trading someone like Tim Gleason to clear salary space for Hainsey offers only marginal improvement. The Hurricanes may have been unhappy with Gleason’s fitness and tepid physical play last season, but he’s certainly shown himself to be capable of more. With the addition of Andrej Sekera and Mike Komisarek, the blue line has been stabilized. (Signing Hainsey would have made more sense than giving up a second-round pick to swap Jamie McBain for Sekera, but on draft night, there was no guarantee Hainsey would even be interested.) So has the backup goalie position with the equal-parts-thrifty-and-crafty signing of Anton Khudobin. In the game of offseason triage, the forwards need the most help now.
Brenden Morrow should be Canes’ free-agent target
Raleigh News & Observer | Jul 18