Aug 8, 2012, 4:10 PM EDT
It was early May when Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford let his intentions be known.
“What we’re working on now is whatever it takes to get a top player, whether it’s a center or a wing,” Rutherford told the Raleigh News and Observer, explaining he’d go whatever route it took to acquire one. “In free agency, you don’t have control over where a player decides to go.
“If you trade for a player and he’s under contract, you know he’s coming to the Hurricanes.”
This statement, in conjunction with Carolina owner Peter Karmanos opening his checkbook, kicked off arguably the most exciting offseason in franchise history.
The ‘Canes spent like crazy. The same club that had the NHL’s fourth-lowest payroll last year (seventh-lowest in 2010-11) dropped $60 million on Jordan Staal, $34 million on Jeff Skinner and $7 million for a year’s worth of Alex Semin.
Rutherford called Semin’s short-term, big-money deal a “pretty strong statement about where we feel our team’s at.”
Carolina also showed aggression in pursuing other players. Known for bringing back familiar faces in free agency and trades — think Cory Stillman, Erik Cole, Joe Corvo — Carolina flipped several key assets to acquire the highly-coveted Staal, then still went out and targeted the likes of Zach Parise and Rick Nash.
Rutherford’s actions indicated a deep belief in his group, one that rallied under Kirk Muller last season to go 25-20-12 to close out the year (7-4-1 over the final 12 games.)
And this isn’t the first time he’s made bold moves to bolster his team.
During Carolina’s cup run of 2005-06, Rutherford made several key acquisitions during the season. In the span of two months he traded for Anton Babchuck, Doug Weight and Mark Recchi, the latter two combining for 32 playoff points.
While it’s tough to compare that 2005-06 team to the current ‘Canes, comparisons can be made with regards to excitement levels.
Rutherford told ESPN the club’s reached “an all-time high” in season ticket sales and a nice spike in television revenue as well.
“We are a much stronger team going into the season than we have been in a long time,” Rutherford said. “There’s been a lot of excitement created.”
- More like it? Avs crush Canucks 27
- Video: Beauties from Perry, Eberle and Duchene 4
- Ghost Time: Flyers recall Gostisbehere from AHL 26
- Trotz calls Healy’s comments on Ovechkin (and Ovechkin’s mom) ‘disrespectful’ 26
- Report: Billionaire wants NHL team in Vegas; new Coyotes owner ‘sees flipping the team as a good investment’ 23
- Chara has PCL tear, out 4-6 weeks 20
- Coburn, MacDonald out four weeks with lower-body injuries 20
- Red-hot Quick sets new Kings’ franchise shutout record 10
- Reports: Chara could miss at least 4-6 weeks with knee injury 13
- Video: Red Wings’ stars stun Penguins with late surge 32
- Video: Two quick third-period goals propel Flyers over rival Penguins (82)
- Updated: Kings’ Voynov arrested for domestic assault, suspended indefinitely (78)
- Babcock: ‘Price definitely initiates contact’ in disallowed Datsyuk goal (59)
- ‘It’s stupid': Tempers flare after Kesler’s late charge on Granlund (54)
- Lucic apologizes for obscene gesture: ‘I’m obviously not proud of what I did there’ (45)