Monday, June 01, 2009

Free agency as I see it

Well, the season's over for the Canes (if the Red Wings keep at it, it'll be the end of the season for everyone in about two more games...), and now it's time to turn away from that painful last series to look to... the future!

(That sentence is a lot cooler if you imagine cymbals crashing and sparks flying as "the future" is spoken in one of those movie trailer voices. Seriously, read it again and try it.)

Yes, now is the time to focus on the upcoming season, and more importantly the upcoming free agency period. The Canes have seven players up for some kind of free agency and the topics range from performance to salary cap.

But the topic I'm going to cover is the most important of all:

Do I really want to watch you play in a Canes uniform next season?

In order of importance:

Leaving is not an option

Chad LaRose
Explanation: Chad LaRose is the heart and soul of this team. You can't just let the heart and soul walk away from the team. Us Caniacs would be left with a pathetic, soul-less team - a zombie team destined to wander the ice rinks hopelessly searching for a spark of life. And I think we've had enough of that nonsense.

I like you a lot. Please stay!

Jussi Jokinen
Explanation: Our playoff hero. Do we really want him to go? Heck no! I know that he wasn't the most significant player in the regular season, but he certainly made up for that in the playoffs, pulling the Canes' butts through several games (and to think that Tampa wanted to waive him?). Not to mention his shootout prowess doesn't hurt either.

Tuomo Ruutu
Explanation: Take away Tuomo, take away our physical presence. It's as simple as that. He didn't score as much in the playoffs as he did in the regular season, but I think he made up for it in the fact that he often went through people to go after the puck. Not to mention - we just can't lose a guy with a name as awesome as that.

Erik Cole
Explanation: Yeah, okay, I probably have Cole ranked a little higher than he should be - but I don't think I can stand losing my favorite player again. He didn't do that great in the playoffs, but the Canes started to turn around their season when he was added to the team. Coincidence? I beg to differ.

Sure, come back. Whatever.

Ryan Bayda
Explanation: He filled in on the lower lines when he was needed. Not the greatest, not too shabby though. He's been with the Canes organization for a while (finally cracked the big leagues!), so sure he can come back.

I'm not sold on this whole "You playing for us again" thing. Why don't you run it by me again?

Dennis Seidenberg
Explanation: I said to my dad before the beginning of Game 4 that "We have a plethora of useless defensemen." I wouldn't say that Seidenberg is useless (it's called hyperbole), but he just seems to be a part of a nameless defensive corps the Canes put on the ice every year. Not that bad, although the mistakes can be miserable to watch.

Anton Babchuk
Explanation: Unlike Seidenberg, Babchuk certainly has made a name for himself. His killer slapshot makes him nothing like a cookie cutter player. But (and maybe this is a case of "what have you done for me lately?") he completely tanked in the playoffs. It was like he was a traffic cone that the opposing team skated circles around - and we saw absolutely none of his miraculous slapshot. I mean, seriously, the guy was replaced with Frank Kaberle. That's pretty bad.

So, there you go. My analysis of the Canes' upcoming free agents (quite possibly the longest thing I've ever written for this blog). And probably the only Canes stuff that we'll be talking about for a long time.

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