Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen is recovering from knee surgery, but not as quickly as the team hoped. He may not return to action until early March – well after the NHL’s Feb. 27 trade deadline passes.
But that won’t stop Carolina from entertaining trade offers for veteran defensemen Tim Gleason, Bryan Allen and Jaroslav Spacek. Each of those players will become unrestricted free agents after the season and Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford is looking to retool with younger players.
Each of those defensemen could have value to contending teams looking to rent some help. The Flyers, for instance, are looking to fortify their blue line after losing Chris Pronger to a season-ending concussion.
“Despite all the talk that people stir up, I'm approaching it at this stage as being more interested in hockey trades and not deadline trades or trading UFAs,” Rutherford told the Raleigh News & Observer. “If something makes sense for our organization and from a financial point of view, if it seems like something we should do, I'll do it. But I'm not out there making all the calls looking to make trades.
“If we were to trade a UFA for a veteran player, we would want control of him next year or the next few years. Usually, we have looked to bring in younger players, but a hockey deal where a veteran player is under contract also is a possibility.”