The Carolina Hurricanes' off-season has been surrounded with talks of acquiring a top line forward either through free agency signings or via trade, but not much talk has been had about the important signings the Hurricanes' front office has done to help bolster the team's defense for the upcoming 2012-2013 season. Although the acquisition of elite center Jordan Staal, via trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins, is definitely the most important move the front office has made this off-season, the team will greatly benefit from the defensive players that have signed with the team during the off-season.
The Carolina Hurricanes resigned Jay Harrison, Jamie McBain and goaltender Justin Peters to multi-year extensions and also signed Joe Corvo to a one-year deal. Both Harrison and McBain established themselves as intricate parts of the Hurricanes' defense this past season, each setting career highs in multiple statistical categories, and both look to play top minutes for the team in the upcoming season.Corvo spent this past season with the Boston Bruins, but returns to the Hurricanes after departing from the team at the end of the 2010 season.
Jay Harrison signed a three-year contract extension worth $4.5 million, after having the best season of his NHL career this past year. Harrison tallied nine goals and added 14 assists (23 total points) in 72 games played, setting career highs in all three categories. Harrison provides a strong defensive presence on the blue-line, but showed this past season that he has a scoring touch that will greatly benefit the Hurricanes both on the powerplay and at even-strength in future seasons. Jay Harrison will most likely be paired with Joe Corvo as the second line defensive pairing for the Hurricanes in the 2012-2013 season, which should only increase Harrison's offensive production at even-strength.Jay Harrison has accumulated 39 points, 13 goals and 26 assists, in 182 career games with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Jamie McBain inked a two-year contract extension worth $3.6 million; the deal will pay McBain $1.7 million for the 2012-2013 season and $1.9 million for the 2013-2014 season. McBain proved his worth to the Carolina Hurricanes this past season by leading all Hurricanes defenders in scoring with 27 points (8 goals and 19 assists). He also saw valuable time on the powerplay, scoring five goals and amassing a total of 11 powerplay points. The team will look for Jamie McBain to pair with Justin Faulk as the team's third defensive line. Fans should also look to see McBain utilized on the point of the powerplay and continue to provide offensive support from the blue line in even-strength situations. Jamie McBain was drafted in the second round, 63rd overall, by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2006 NHL entry draft after playing three years at the University of Wisconsin. McBain has scored 18 goals and recorded 49 assists (67 points) in 166 career games with the Hurricanes.
Justin Peters signed a two-year contract that will pay him $525,000 in the NHL and $105,000 in the AHL, with a guarantee of at least $250,000 in 2012-13; Peters will be paid $550,000 in 2013-14. Peters spent most of the 2011-2012 season with the Hurricanes' AHL affiliate the Charlotte Checkers, but did play in seven games at the NHL level totaling a 2-3-2 record, a 2.48 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. He played in 28 games for the Checkers, going 10-13-2 with a 2.77 goals-against average. Peters should see time at the NHL level this upcoming season as the backup for starting goaltender Cam Ward.
Finally, the Carolina Hurricanes signed Joe Corvo to a one-year deal worth $2 million. Corvo played the 2011-2012 NHL season with the Boston Bruins and scored four goals and dished out 21 assists (25 total points) in 75 games played. He also ranked second in powerplay scoring for Bruin's defensive players by scoring one goal and eight assists (nine total points). Joe Corvo also averaged 18:43 of ice time per game as a Boston Bruin, which is key because the Carolina Hurricanes will look for him to play quality minutes both even-strength and on the powerplay. Not only will he provide offensive support from the blue line, but Corvo will also add a veteran savvy the Hurricanes will definitely benefit from.
These off-season signings give the Carolina Hurricanes a mixture off solid defensive abilities and needed offensive support at the blue line in every game situation. This will not only provide starting goaltender Cam Ward with an apt and talented defensive unit to help him, but also give the team multiple offensive threats from the blue line. The success of this core defensive unit will greatly impact both how successful the Hurricanes are in the Southeast Division and how deep of a run they can make in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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