Though Carolina has played well of late — 9-4-3 in its last 16 games — the team is still way out of a playoff spot and must make decisions on a number of key assets.
On Friday, GM Ron Francis provided insight to the direction he might take with them:
Asked GM Ron Francis how active Canes would be through March 2 deadline. Francis: “We hope to be fairly active.”
— Chip Alexander (@ice_chip) February 13, 2015
Not a huge surprise here. Earlier this week, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that Carolina had placed Andrej Sekera — a highly-coveted d-man — on the market, after Sekera and the ‘Canes failed to reach common ground on a contract extension. The 28-year-old rearguard, in the last of a four-year, $11 million deal, is reportedly looking for “Marc Staal money” in the neighborhood of $5.5M-$6M annually, which he could get on the open market this summer, meaning he’d probably be a rental for any acquiring team (and, therefore, the ‘Canes will probably be compensated accordingly.)
It’ll also be interesting to see what Francis does with winger Jiri Tlusty. A skill guy with a nose for goal — he’s scored 51 over his last 162 games — Tlusty, like Sekera, is a pending UFA that may or may not have a future in Carolina. Though he’s combined at times to form a dynamic scoring duo with captain Eric Staal, Tlusty has failed to replicate his success from the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign (38 points in 48 games) and could net Carolina a fairly good return in a trade.
Other players Francis could dangle prior to Mar. 2 include Jay McClement, Riley Nash, Tim Gleason and Patrick Dwyer, all of whom are up for new contracts at season’s end.
UPDATE: On cue, here’s TSN’s Bob McKenzie…
Pending UFA forwards Jiri Tlusty and Jay McClement haven’t been able to come to terms with CAR on extensions, so they’re likely to be dealt.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 13, 2015