RALEIGH — The day before the NHL trade deadline, Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford still was feeling the effects of a hard loss Saturday to the Florida Panthers.
With a chance to pick up two points in the standings on the Panthers, the Canes lost a 2-0 lead late in regulation and then the game 3-2 in a shootout. Florida moved into the Southeast Division lead while hurting Carolina's hopes of clawing its way into the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Asked Sunday if the loss, in turn, would affect how the Canes approach today's trade deadline, Rutherford said, "It factors in, realistically, where we are at this time."
But Rutherford said he still isn't sure how active the Canes will be leading up to the 3 p.m. trade cutoff.
"It's always a tough period to predict," he said. "We'll have to see what the market is and what people will offer. We're not going to trade players just to trade players. If something makes sense and has strong value, we'll consider it."
While defensemen Bryan Allen and Jaroslav Spacek are due to become unrestricted free agents after the season and should be sought after today, Rutherford said he could not rule out a "hockey trade" being made involving other players who are under contract next season.
"There's always that possibility," he said. "It's hard to find players now. Teams are signing a lot of players and it makes it hard at the deadline, and in the offseason. So often it boils down to hockey trades."
The Canes would like to add a scoring winger to play with center Eric Staal before next season.
Rutherford has re-signed forward Tuomo Ruutu and defenseman Tim Gleason - both due to be unrestricted free agents - to contract extensions. He said he had "casual" talks with Allen's agent about an extension.
"The conversations were just to see where they'd be at on this and if it made sense to extend Bryan at this time," he said. "It's not going to happen."
Allen, 31, was dealt to Carolina by the Panthers on the trade deadline last season, agreeing to waive the no-trade clause in his contract. Well-respected by his teammates, he's a good shot-blocker and a gritty, stay-at-home defenseman.
Allen said the no-trade clause still is in effect, and said he enjoys playing for the Canes and that he and his wife like living in Raleigh. "My focus is to stay here," he said this past week.
Spacek, 38, came to the Canes this season in a Dec. 9 trade with the Montreal Canadiens that sent defenseman Tomas Kaberle to the Habs. An easy fit into the lineup, Spacek can be used on special teams and also is popular with his teammates.
Spacek said Saturday that he has talked with Rutherford about possible trade options.
"It's obviously a business and I've been traded on the deadline before," Spacek said.
In 2002, Spacek was dealt by the Chicago Blackhawks to the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was a stressful day and could be the same today.
"You don't want to pick up the phone that day," he said, smiling. "At 5 o'clock, it's fine. At 3:30 it's the worst."