On Wednesday, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that defenceman Joni Pitkanen had suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from a broken heel bone and would miss the entirety of the 2013-14 season. The bad news led many to wonder if they might go out and acquire another blueliner to fill the void.
Sure enough, a day later, the Hurricanes have announced the signing of UFA defenceman Ron Hainsey. From the Hurricanes:
Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Ron Hainsey on a one-year contract. The deal will pay Hainsey $2 million.
“Ron is an experienced, two-way defenseman,” said Rutherford. “He was very interested in joining our team this summer, and was patient as we waited for updated information about Joni Pitkanen’s injury. We are happy to be able to solidify our defense with a player of this caliber at this stage.”
The important takeaway from Rutherford's quote: this isn't actually a kneejerk signing. The Hurricanes were reported to be interested in Hainsey back in July, with The Fourth Period even wondering aloud if Hainsey was the guy Rutherford was talking about when he mentioned needing to make space to add an interested player:
"There's one guy that has said he will take less on a one-year contract to come to us, because he likes our team and he'd like to play here," Rutherford told 99.9 The Fan, Raleigh's ESPN affiliate at the time. "I've been continuing to work on ways to do that.
"We're going to have to move a player out before we're able to add a player, and at this point in time I haven't been able to do it, but the player is still waiting patiently."
In the end, thanks to Pitkanen's setback, the Hurricanes didn't have to move a player out at all. Granted, they probably would have preferred getting Hainsey into the lineup without losing a major member of their blueline for the entire season, but at least they got their man.