Hurricanes bow out of Nash sweepstakes, focus on other options

GettyJuly 5, 2012 

— RALEIGH -- The Carolina Hurricanes missed out on free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

They’ve now bowed out on Rick Nash.

The Hurricanes are no longer believed to be seeking a trade for Nash, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ star forward. While general manager Jim Rutherford won’t comment on the Nash situation, the Blue Jackets’ insistence that Canes forward Jeff Skinner be a part of a trade apparently has scuttled any chance of a deal.

Rutherford said Thursday the Canes will continue to consider available free agents and look at other potential trades. An offseason priority still is to land a scoring winger to play with Canes captain Eric Staal.

Two free-agent possibilities could be Shane Doan of Phoenix, who might re-sign with the Coyotes, or Alexander Semin, the former Washington Capitals sniper, who will not be re-signing with the Caps.

On Doan, Rutherford said, “He’d be a guy we would look at. It’s my understanding he will not make a decision until after July 9. If he’s on the market after that, he’d be a player we would look at.”

Doan, 35, is the Coyotes captain. He has said he wanted to wait on an update on the Phoenix ownership situation and any possible relocation before deciding.

Semin, 28, has the offensive explosiveness the Canes covet, but the enigmatic Russian has been questioned about his effort, consistency and attitude. Rutherford said the Canes could consider offering Semin a one-year contract.

“We would look at Semin on a short-term basis,” he said. “We wouldn’t want to get locked in to anything, because we’ve all heard the stories about him. We do like his skill level. It could be that we could bring him in for a year, get to know him and go from there in terms of considering something longer term.”

Semin scored 40 goals and had a career-high 84 points in the 2009-2010 season, but has dropped to 28 and 21 goals the past two seasons with 54 points in each.

The Canes still could make an offseason trade, although Rutherford said, “We’re not going to add a player just to add a player. He would have to fit the criteria we have set.”

A part of the criteria could be that in any negotiations, the Canes will not be willing to trade such young stars as Skinner or defenseman Justin Faulk.

The Hurricanes made offers to Parise, the former New Jersey Devils forward, and Suter, the Nashville Predators defenseman, when NHL free agency began Sunday. Both agreed to sign with the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday for matching 13-year, $98 million contracts that include a total of $25 million in signing bonuses the first three years.

“It’s great for Minnesota and great for that franchise,” Rutherford said of the signings. “When I saw the structure of the contracts, I understood. We wouldn’t be able to do that.”

Rutherford said the Hurricanes have the financial wherewithal to pursue a top-tier player in a trade. Noting the Blue Jackets traded forward Jeff Carter to the Los Angeles Kings in late-February, he said, “We can be involved in those kinds of trades in the future.”

Carter, who helped the Kings win the Stanley Cup, has a $5.3 million annual salary-cap hit.

NOTE: Former Canes defenseman Derek Joslin has signed a one-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks. The Canes bought out the final year of Joslin’s contract, making him a free agent.

Alexander: 919-829-8945

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