From Luke DeCock of the Charlotte News and Observer comes this news about Carolina’s offseason acquisition strategy:
For the first time, the Hurricanes have identified a first-line caliber winger to play with Eric Staal as their top priority.
General manager Jim Rutherford has declared that owner Peter Karmanos is willing to spend the money, and a not-too-subtle whispering campaign has identified New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise as the No. 1 target.
Financially, this strategy makes an awful lot of sense for Carolina. Parise will be arguably the top free agent available come July 1 (depending on your feelings for Ryan Suter, of course) and few teams have the Hurricanes’ financial flexibility.
At the time of writing they have 18 players under contract for next year with almost $20 million in cap space — and don’t have to sort out Jeff Skinner’s next contract until 2014.
Just two questions: One, how much is Carolina willing to spend? And two, does Parise want any part of the ‘Canes?
Based on the contracts given to franchise cornerstones Eric Staal (seven years, $58 million) and Cam Ward (six years, $38 million), it seems Karmanos and Rutherford have no problem breaking out the checkbook — something they’d almost certainly have to do for Parise, who could be eyeballing that nine-year, $60 million deal Brad Richards signed with the Rangers last summer.
But will Parise make money his main priority? Other teams rumored to be interested include Minnesota (the hometown allure) and Detroit (the “being centered by Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg” allure).
The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins are going to take their rivalry outside on Saturday.
The Flyers visit the Penguins in a Stadium Series clash at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. You can catch the action on NBC or online with the NBC Sports Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Goalie nods: Murray, Neuvirth get the call at Heinz Field
Kris Letang won’t play in outdoor game; Schultz game-time decision
NHL On NBC: Penguins, Flyers meet in Stadium Series
Giroux: ‘It’s all business’ between Penguins and Flyers at Heinz Field
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes have made a minor league trade.
The Bolts on Saturday acquired right winger Stefan Fournier from the Coyotes in exchange for right winger Jeremy Morin, who has played 82 career NHL games between the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Fournier stands six-foot-three-inches tall and 226 pounds. He has two goals and four points in 29 games with the Tuscon Roadrunners in the AHL.
Morin, who has spent the majority of his pro career in the Blackhawks organization, has been a productive minor league player over the years. He has nine goals and 21 points in 43 games this season with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL.
The New York Islanders entered today with a three-game winning streak and holders of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
But yeah, it’s been a disastrous start for the Islanders on Saturday. The Blue Jackets scored three times in the first period, chasing Thomas Greiss from the New York net after he stopped 14 of 17 shots faced.
Jean-Francois Berube entered the game to begin the second period and promptly surrendered a goal to Josh Anderson, who scored his 12th of the season.
Oh, look at that: Another heated melee involving the Anaheim Ducks and L.A. Kings.
You’ll recall a first-period fight fest in a pivotal Pacific Division game between these teams almost one full year ago. On Saturday, in another meeting between these California rivals, the Ducks and Kings were once again at odds.
This latest conflict? Well, Corey Perry was involved. Again. (Last year, order had been restored during a brief scrum before Perry gave an extra shot to a Kings player, resulting in mayhem.)
Perry was called this time around for interference on Anze Kopitar. Kings players, as you might expect, suddenly rushed over before Nate Thompson and Brayden McNabb squared off in the main event.