Jimmy-boy is in a hurry, which surprises a lot of people. The only person less active than Trader Jimmy in the NHL player market is Trader Vic.
The subject of this discussion is general manager Jim Rutherford of the Carolina Hurricanes. Owner Peter Karmanos and Rutherford arrived together in June, 1994. After 343 losses and seven losing seasons Rutherford has stirred himself and made a trade. He.s threatening more trades because, you see, he has noticed lately his team can.t score.
What.s the rush?
Hartford moved to the NHL for the 1979/80 season and had a forward line of Bobby Hull, Dave Keon, and Gordie Howe. Trouble was the youngest, Keon, was about 42 years old. Hull wasn.t around for long but altogether they had 27 goals and 93 assists. These three napped while the Whalers killed penalties.
Hartford.s novelty act was scrapped and the franchise subsided into a torpor with the odd decent season thrown in. Since the Karmanos conspiracy took over, the Whalers/Hurricanes have had five seasons conceding more goals than they scored. Seven times, including this season, the present regime has missed the play-offs. The franchise.s shining moment came two years ago when they fluked themselves into the Stanley Cup Final.
Next season Carolina was the worst team in the NHL yet complacent Rutherford did little because the club had a .hangover. from their Cup run. New Jersey Devils aren.t suffering any such thing this season but the Anaheim Ducks, citing Carolina for justification, are hung-over. Detroit won the cup twice in succession and three times in six years. Can.t says I.ve noticed any hang-over.
Rutherford did little last summer, other than humiliate the Latvian Looney, goaltender Arturs Irbe. Rutherford has made good decisions in the past: he traded for Philadelphia.s Rod Brind.Amour but the price was Keith Primeau; he brought back centre Ron Francis; he dumped a useless Bates Battaglia on the Colorado Avalanche; he snagged Bret Hedican from Florida, sending Sandis Ozolinsh south.
Inevitably there were goofs too: shipping Marek Malik to Vancouver for Jan Hlavac wasn.t good; obtaining centre Harold Druken in the same trade was daft; bringing Pavel Brendl in from Philadelphia looks doomed.
Rutherford.s greatest sin was cluttering his roster with players who don.t score. Francis is 40 and finished, Brind.Amour is in steep decline, while Marty Murray, Kevyn Adams, Craig Adams, and Brendl have never terrified opposition goaltenders. Now one or two in this group are checkers or penalty killers but not all of them.
Yesterday Rutherford traded his best defenceman, and a popular teammate by all accounts, to the Flyers for a winger who isn.t scoring with Philly. Not good. Then Rutherford beaked off about more trades for forwards. He made a bad situation worse by declaring the team, with these new hot-shots, will make the play-offs.
That.s gonna be some rebuilding job.
I understand Jaromir Jagr is available.