LaRose could meet with Canes to discuss return to hockey

calexander@newsobserver.comJuly 11, 2014 

Chad LaRose may still have some hockey left to play.

Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis said Friday the former Canes forward has expressed an interest in returning to hockey after sitting out the 2013-2014 season.

Francis said Canes assistant coach Rod Brind'Amour had stayed in touch with LaRose and said LaRose had asked for a meeting to discuss a possible return. LaRose, a free agent, could be offered a professional tryout to attend the Canes' preseason training camp.

"I'd like to talk to him," Francis said. "He took a year off and obviously he'd need to earn his way back. There are some options. We could get him to camp on a tryout. He could start the season in Charlotte (AHL), show that he could still do it.”

LaRose played 508 regular-season and 39 playoff games in eight seasons with the Hurricanes. As a rookie in 2005-2006, the winger was in for 21 playoff games during the Canes' run to the Stanley Cup.

At 5-10 and 175 pounds, LaRose was a high-energy type and scored 19 goals in both the 2008-2009 season, when the Canes reached the Eastern Conference finals, and the 2011-2012 season. His productivity took a big drop in the lockout-shortened 2012-2013 season, when he had two goals and two assists in 35 games.

LaRose then skipped his scheduled end-of-season exit meeting, which did not set well with management. LaRose said he later met with Jim Rutherford, then the Canes’ GM, saying in an August 2013 interview, “I needed a cool-off period as opposed to going right in and blowing up."

The Canes did not look to re-sign LaRose, an unrestricted free agent. Unsigned by any NHL team, LaRose did not look to go overseas, instead sitting out the season.

In 2008, former Canes forward Jeff O'Neill was invited to the Canes' preseason camp after a year away from hockey. O'Neill, then 32, ended his comeback bid before the end of camp.

Veteran forward Radek Dvorak attended the Canes' preseason camp last September on a professional tryout basis and earned an NHL contract with Carolina. Dvorak had played 16 games in the 2012-2013 season -- seven in Switzerland and nine in the NHL with Anaheim.

Francis said the Canes continue to talk to defenseman Brett Bellemore, 26, who played 64 games for Carolina last season. Francis said Bellemore, an unrestricted free agent. turned down an initial offer from the team.

Francis said he was pleased the Hurricanes were able to sign forward Jiri Tlusty to a one-year, $2.95 million contract on July 1. Tlusty was a restricted free agent.

"It was a good deal for both sides and it's good to have Jiri back in the fold," Francis said. "He had a really tough start to the season last year but is healthy. It should be an incentive for him to have a good season as he will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. He should be ready to rock and roll. He'll be a valuable piece for us."

Francis said he recently received a medical update on forward Alexander Semin, who underwent wrist surgery after the season. Francis said Semin was "progressing as expected" and on schedule to be ready for the start of camp.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service