Canes miss on Parise and Suter but still look to improve

calexander@newsobserver.comJuly 3, 2012 

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COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 07: Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets participates in post-game activities after the Blue Jackets defeated the New York Islanders on April 7, 2012 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

JAMIE SABAU — Getty

— The Carolina Hurricanes aimed high and made a run at free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, only to miss on both.

What now for the Canes?

"We’ll keep trying, keep looking at our options," general manager Jim Rutherford said Tuesday.

Rutherford said the Hurricanes still are seeking to add a scoring winger, either through free agency or a trade.

"It’s something we need to be a contending team," he said.

The Hurricanes entered NHL free agency Sunday determined to be in the mix for Parise, the New Jersey Devils captain and star forward, and Suter, the versatile defenseman for the Nashville Predators. The Canes made offers to both but were told late Sunday afternoon they were no longer in the running for Parise. Rutherford said a representative for Suter called Tuesday morning to say Carolina was no longer being considered.

"We entered the process this year understanding we were not the only team in the game," Rutherford said. "Looking at those two players, a lot of teams were in the game. And there were some big-revenue teams that were in a stronger position to structure the kind of deal (Parise and Suter) are looking for.

"We entered into the process hoping we would have enough good criteria to get one of those players to come here. And if not, we’d keep pushing."

For the Hurricanes, that likely means pushing for forward Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Rutherford won’t talk publicly about Nash, but the Hurricanes are believed to have made a strong trade offer to the Blue Jackets for the winger, who has twice scored 40 or more goals, has made five NHL All-Star appearances and helped Canada win hockey gold in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Nash, 28, has a no-movement clause in his contract and the Columbus Dispatch has reported the Hurricanes have not been included on Nash’s approved list of teams. But Nash told the Dispatch in January he would not use the clause to scuttle a trade because he did not want to "hurt the franchise."

Many expected Parise to announce his decision on Monday – the twitterverse was ablaze all day – but the Devils captain said Monday afternoon he needed more time. Suter also continued to mull over his offers.

Meanwhile, the Canes move on.

"We’ll continue to look at what’s out there," Rutherford said. "It will be a matter of, ‘What can they do for us, what will it cost us?’ We’re still working through all that.

"We will continue to try and add a good forward. It may take one week, one month or it may take one year. I have no idea what the time line will be."

The Hurricanes on Sunday signed free-agent defenseman Joe Corvo to a one-year contract, and Rutherford said Monday the team likely would not add another defenseman.

"We like the balance we have on defense," he said. "We’re comfortable with our defensive structure."

While Carolina missed out on Parise and Suter, Canes coach Kirk Muller said Monday it was important that the franchise made a strong bid at signing one of the two biggest names in free agency this year. The NHL, he said, took notice.

"I think the message has to be out there with the rest of the league," Muller said. "There were three or four teams that were in the mix with these elite players and we were one of them.

"It was like we’re not backing down. We’re going after them. We were in the game trying to get these elite players and go after it.’"

Alexander: 919-829-8945

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