Busy Hurricanes sign 3 new free agents
The Carolina Hurricanes added three free agents Friday, signing
two-year contracts with goalie Brian Boucher and center Tim Brent
and reaching a one-year deal with forward Alexei Ponikarovsky.
Boucher’s $1.9 million deal will pay him $900,000 this season
and $1 million in 2012-13. The veteran made $925,000 last season
with Philadelphia, and was 18-10 with a 2.42 goals-against average
as part of the Flyers’ three-goalie rotation.
”He’s a guy that we’ve always liked,” Carolina general manager
Jim Rutherford said. ”He’s just one of those guys that fits into a
team nicely. … A hard-working guy, a great team guy, a guy that
can give you a stretch of 8-10 games if necessary, if your No. 1
guy gets hurt.”
Acquiring a fourth-line center and an experienced backup goalie
behind Cam Ward were the Hurricanes’ top two priorities of the
offseason, and they took care of both hours after free agency
started at noon Friday.
Rutherford said he wants Boucher to play between 20-25 games.
Last year’s backup, Justin Peters, is scheduled to spend this
season at Carolina’s AHL affiliate in Charlotte so he can play more
often and continue his development.
Ponikarovsky will make $1.5 million this season. He had just
five goals in 61 games with Los Angeles last season after scoring
at least 18 goals in each of his previous five NHL campaigns.
Brent will make $700,000 this season and $800,000 in 2012-13. He
made $575,000 last season with Toronto, and had eight goals and 12
assists in 79 games with the Maple Leafs.
He had two goals and an assists in a loss to the Carolina in
January, then blocked a handful of shots in a rematch the following
”We liked him before that,” Rutherford said. ”Aside from
(those performances), he’s a good fit in that role as a fourth-line
Carolina also re-signed center Jiri Tlusty to a one-year deal
worth $525,000. Tlusty had six goals and six assists in 57 games
The Hurricanes re-signed most of their potential free agents,
reaching deals with forwards Jussi Jokinen and Chad LaRose and
defenseman Joni Pitkanen this week.
But Rutherford said popular forward Erik Cole turned down
Carolina’s attempt to keep him, instead signing with Montreal for
$18 million over four years.
”I do think the best thing for us to do right now with the
budgeted money that we had for Erik Cole is to sit, wait until the
dust settles and possibly try to (replace) him through a trade,”
Rutherford said. ”If we don’t find the player we like, that just
moves some of the younger players up quicker. … That’ll be a
tough spot to fill.”