NHL Free Agency: Carolina Hurricanes Team Report (July 16 Edition)

July 16th, 2010 No Comments

Despite a period of silence surrounding the Carolina Hurricanes over the past week since they signed Joe Corvo, several minor signings have began to fill out the depth chart for the ‘Canes new minor league affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.

Carolina’s official website, as well as plenty of other sources, report that 26-year-old defenseman Bryan Rodney, 24-year-old goaltender Justin Pogge, and 24-year-old center Nick Dodge have all been signed to new contracts by the Hurricanes. All three had become restricted free agents on July 1st.

Bryan Rodney, the only of the three to make an NHL appearance for Carolina last season, was inked to a one year deal that will pay him $525,000 at the NHL level in the upcoming year. Rodney was a significant part of the Albany River Rats’ defense last season in both the regular season and playoffs, as well as scoring his first NHL goal and adding 10 more assists in 22 games with the Hurricanes.

Former Duck and Maple Leaf prospect Justin Pogge, who was acquired at the trade deadline from Anaheim along with a 2010 fourth round pick for Aaron Ward, was given a one-year NHL entry level contract ($500,000 salary). Pogge has started five NHL games over his young career (all with Toronto), but played very little with Albany last spring after his acquisition due to an injury.

With Manny Legace signed in the KHL, the ‘Canes have confirmed Justin Peters will step up to be Cam Ward’s backup for the Hurricanes next season (Peters was signed to a two-year entry level contract on July 5th). Due to his recent re-signing, Pogge will now step into an alternating role with Mike Murphy at the goaltending position for Charlotte.

Nick Dodge also received, like Pogge, a one-year NHL entry level deal. Dodge led Albany in plus/minus last season as well as recording 36 points in his full 80-game season.

Despite adding Rodney, Pogge, and Dodge to the lineup, the ‘Canes did lose another one of their “prospects” this week. 28-year-old AHL enforcer Tim Conboy was signed to a one-year, $550,000 salary contract by the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night.

Conboy had played 40 games with the Hurricanes over the past two seasons, logging one point and 61 penalty minutes. Conboy will be remembered, if at all, only for his brutal, bloody, and often incessant brawls at both the NHL and AHL levels.

Despite this plethora of small-talk news, the Hurricanes continue to hold on to their $12.5 million in cap space, the 12th-most in the NHL, according to capgeek.com. The signings of Joe Corvo and Anton Babchuk earlier in the month helped fill out the Hurricanes most pressing defensive needs going into free agency, but a third-line center is still on the wish list, although there is plenty of cash to find one.

27-year-old former Canuck Kyle Wellwood and 32-year-old former Capital Eric Belanger are two names being tossed around as being reportedly contacted by Carolina for that position.

In other news, the Hurricanes announced that Rod Brind’Amour’s jersey number, 17, will be retired on a February 18th, 2011, game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Ironically, Brind’Amour played much of his early career with the Flyers before established Carolina as a reputable hockey team with his trade to the Hurricanes in 2001.

“Brindy”, as he was affectionately nicknamed, announced his retirement several weeks ago.

Lastly, the Hurricanes’ box office also announced yesterday that their October 1st matinee exhibition game (1:00 PM at the RBC Center) against the Atlanta Thrashers will offer free admission for fans. The ‘Canes are the first team to announce a deal like that for the upcoming preseason, and tickets can be picked up quite a few promotional events over the summer.

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