NHL Trade Rumors: Where Could Carolina Hurricanes Deal Their 2012 Free Agents?

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NHL Trade Rumors: Where Could Carolina Hurricanes Deal Their 2012 Free Agents?
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

There have been a plethora of both optimistic and pessimistic editorials on the Carolina Hurricanes' rollercoaster season lately, but regardless of the outlook for the franchise, there's little doubt that the remaining months of the '11-'12 season will likely be spent cleaning out the roster.

The prime candidates to be traded out of Carolina likely include the team's four remaining free agents-to-be—forward Tuomo Ruutu and defensemen Jaroslav Spacek, Tim Gleason and Bryan Allen. With upcoming UFA Alexei Ponikarovsky traded to New Jersey just this past Friday, Carolina GM Jim Rutherford seems just as willing as expected to part with his 2012 contract expirees.

The four-some, all but one of whom are over age 30 (only Ruutu isn't), all share the same qualities of stellar defensive play and physicality. Ruutu and Gleason, who were respectively second and 17th in the NHL in hits last season, are the team veterans, while the other two have just 81 games of Hurricanes experience between them.

As Jim Rutherford looks to move some of his more flexible assets this winter, these four will surely top the list. Where could they be headed? Here's a preliminary glance at a few reasonable suitors for each.

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