RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes won a Stanley Cup in 2006 with Cory Stillman in the lineup, making plays and producing points.
The Canes may not win another Cup this year, but they're hoping Stillman's return to Carolina can help them reach the playoffs.
The Hurricanes on Thursday acquired the veteran winger from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Ryan Carter and a fifth-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Stillman, who also earned a Stanley Cup ring with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, is expected to play tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"He's a player we're very familiar with and one who can step in and contribute to this team," Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said Thursday. "He's won two Cups. He's a hockey guy. He understands the game. He has a lot of experience.
"On top of that, he still plays well and he's a very smart player. Going down the stretch of the season he can really add something to our team."
The Hurricanes (28-24-9) have lost their last two games and three of the past four after a 4-3 shootout loss Tuesday against the New York Rangers. The Canes' power play has been a woeful 1-for-30 in the past seven games.
"He's still a good player and gives us more depth and balance up front," Rutherford said. "He should be able to help us offensively and on the power play."
In the Canes' 2006 run to the Cup, Stillman was on a line with Eric Staal and Erik Cole and gave Carolina consistent offensive punch. He had 21 goals and 55 assists (76 points) in 72 games, and 10 of the goals and 24 assists came on the power play.
Stillman, 37, then had 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) during the Canes' 25 playoff games culminating in the Stanley Cup championship.
Stillman signed a three-year, free-agent contract with Carolina in August 2005 and had 149 points in 170 games for the Hurricanes. He was traded with defenseman Mike Commodore to the Ottawa Senators in February 2008 for defenseman Joe Corvo and forward Patrick Eaves.
Stillman had seven goals and 16 assists in 44 games for the Panthers this season. He played his 1,000th career game Feb. 16 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Rutherford did not rule out making another move before the NHL's Monday trade deadline but said the Canes would not be dealing away any of their young prospects.
"That's one thing I do not want to do," he said.
Stillman will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, but Rutherford did not want to refer to him as "rental" player.
"We'll have a better idea about that when the season ends," he said. "This is about this team this year."