The Canes on Friday added a big, veteran defenseman, signing former NHL All-Star Mike Komisarek to a one-year, $700,000 free-agent deal.
Canes general manager Jim Rutherford said the team also was hoping to finalize a one-year deal with goalie Anton Khudobin, who played last season with the Boston Bruins.
Komisarek, 31, played the past four seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs but has been slowed by injuries and played just four games for the Leafs this past season. He played in the 2009 NHL All-Star game and offers size on the blue line at 6-4 and 235 pounds.
"We added a defenseman today that we set out to," Rutherford said Friday. "This is an important piece to our defense group. We added a guy with size who is physical. He's got great character and he's a good penalty killer. We're really pleased to add him to give us a more balanced defense."
Komisarek suffered a serious shoulder injury in January 2010 and underwent surgery. He had been chosen to represent the U.S. in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver but was forced to miss the Games.
In addressing concerns about his health, Komisarek said Friday, "My body hasn't felt this good in years. I feel strong."
Komisarek was entering the final year of a five-year, $22.5 million free-agent contract he signed with the Leafs in 2009 ,but Toronto exercised its option on a compliance buyout. He was placed on waivers by the Leafs in March and later assigned to the Toronto Marlies.
"This is my second experience with the whole free agent thing and I can definitely say this was a lot more enjoyable," Komisarek said. "It wasn't as hectic and crazy. With the circumstances with the buyout and the last couple of years with the Leafs, I didn't think there would be a big market or be able to choose where I would be able to go. ...
"Carolina seemed to be that place for me. The best fit for me."
Komisarek said there were two other teams interested in him Friday but that Carolina seemed to be a "fresh breath of air" for him and his family.
Komisarek was the seventh overall pick of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens. He played parts of six seasons for the Habs, and when Canes coach Kirk Muller was a Montreal assistant coach.
Komisarek has 14 goals, 63 assists and 663 penalty minutes in 519 career NHL games with Montreal and Toronto. He established career highs in goals (4), assists (15) and points (19) during the 2006-07 season with Montreal, and led the NHL in hits (266) and ranked second in blocked shots (227) in 2007-08.
Khudobin, who would be the Canes' backup goalie, was 9-4-1 last season with the Bruins as a backup to Tuukka Rask.