A little more than a month into the 2011 NHL free agent period, the earthquake of signings that once cluttered up news feeds back in early summer has now dwindled down to the rate of just one per week.
Teams have now begun to assess their new lineups, mix their new rookies into the roster and prepare for training camp. The time to sign the difference-making free agents has come and gone, and August has been relegated as the month to look back and evaluate how each club fared in hockey's craziest time of the year.
For the Carolina Hurricanes, mixed emotions immediately highlight what the 2011 offseason will be in terms of roster changes.
GM Jim Rutherford was able to, at the last minute, scramble and hold on to most of his soon-to-be UFA's (unrestricted free agents) and also made his presence known once July began by filling plenty of holes in the lineup with several big-name players. However, Rutherford was unable to negotiate to terms with one of Carolina's most beloved players, Erik Cole, a departure that will sadden many Caniacs for months to come.
It'll take more than a few minutes to be able to see the full impact the Hurricanes' five summer signings will have; in fact, it'll probably take more than just a year to completely be able to judge that. Nevertheless, we're still going to try to take a shot right now at grading each and every one of the 'Canes offseason changes, for better or worse.