by Kate Shefte
On the local, less important scale, Rutherford is once again dropping trade hints. A trade is currently in the works, according to Paul Branecky, the ‘Canes webmaster.
To sum up Rutherford’s statements, the team is currently carrying too many defensemen, and if one more forwards succumbs to injury, the ‘Canes are in serious trouble. Signing a free agent that is still floating out there quasi-NHL Never-Never Land would be ideal, but the ‘Canes don’t have the cap
space to do so. Frantisek Kaberle, whose production has dropped steeply in recent years, has been rumored to go – the offensive-minded defenseman did not record a single goal in 80 games last year. However, his excellent early play this season may have put him off Rutherford’s radar. The less famous of the two Kaberle brothers, (younger brother Tomas commandeers the power play for Toronto) Frank has recorded three assists in three games; it took him 11 games to reach the same marker last year. Aside from his newly inspired play, there is another factor that could keep Kaberle in Raleigh: few teams would be willing to touch his $2.2 million contract, and he’s signed for an additional year. Golden oldie Niclas Wallin is making slightly less than Kaberle, but is also signed for next year and has the added benefit of a no-trade clause. If Wallin refuses to waive it – which he has done adamantly in the past – then that's it. Plus, would they do that to Wallin, who has been with the organization since, oh, forever?
The rest of Carolina’s defensemen (with the exception of Gleason, Corvo, and Pitkanen, who are presumably off-limits) aren’t earning much, but if they were packaged together, they might become more appetizing. In addition, a few minor leaguers might be included as the pretty bow on top. However, Rutherford needs to free up a little cap space, so in the recent wake of the Cole trade, look for another ‘Cane favorite to depart the Triangle soon. Maybe not too soon, but soon.