Canes’ Francis now turns attention to free agency

calexander@newsobserver.comJune 28, 2014 

With the NHL draft over, Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis will turn his full attention to free agency.

The league's free-agency period begins July 1, and Francis said Saturday that forward Manny Malhotra, goalie Justin Peters and defenseman Brett Bellemore -- all due to become unrestricted free agents -- would test the market.

The team probably will not look to re-sign two other UFAs, defenseman Mike Komisarek or forward Radek Dvorak, Francis said.

Forward Jiri Tlusty is a restricted free agent and Francis said the Canes were in talks with Tlusty and would "definitely qualify him." Final decisions on qualifying offers for the team's other RFAs would be made Sunday, he said.

"There's a couple of guys we're teetering on and need to have a final meeting on," he said.

In assessing the Canes' needs going into free agency, Francis said, "We're looking potentially more in the fourth-line need, maybe, or a depth defenseman at this point."

With Peters going into free agency, Francis said the “plan” was for Anton Khudobin and Cam Ward to go into next season as the Canes’ two goalies. There has been speculation the Canes might look to trade Ward and possibly re-sign Peters as Khudobin’s backup.

Francis again said the team did not plan to make use of a compliance buyout.

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