Once again, GM Rutherford gets his man

Updated: February 23, 2007, 7:17 PM ET
By Scott Burnside | ESPN.com

Kudos once again to Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford, who proves the old Western adage: If you're going to talk, talk; if you're going to trade, trade.

Anson Carter
Carter

Entering a make-or-break stretch with his defending Stanley Cup champs clinging to the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, Rutherford somehow managed to bring in veteran scorer Anson Carter from Columbus for the bargain-basement price of a fifth-round pick in 2008.

Granted, Carter isn't having much of a season in Columbus, scoring just 10 times in 53 games. Still, this is an experienced player who dinted the twine 33 times last season playing mostly with Henrik and Daniel Sedin in Vancouver. Carter's seven game-winning goals were the fifth-highest in the NHL.

A source told ESPN.com the Hurricanes had targeted Carter some time ago because it was believed he would fit in nicely with coach Peter Laviolette's up-tempo, attacking style of play.

The move is reminiscent in some ways of last season's acquisition of veteran Mark Recchi from Pittsburgh. At the time, Recchi was in the midst of a terrible season with one of the worst plus/minuses in the league. He assumed a third-line role in Carolina, but chipped in on the power play and was an important cog in the Hurricanes' Cup-winning machine with 16 points in 25 postseason games.

Carter was part of a woeful squad in Columbus that changed coaches midway through this season. If he can regain some semblance of his scoring touch, he'll improve Carolina's chances of making the playoffs, the team's primary goal.

In recent days, Rutherford has swapped third-/fourth-line center Eric Belanger (now in Atlanta) for former Hurricanes center Josef Vasicek and now added Carter. Pretty good work for little risk. The Carter deal puts a lie to the notion that every player available this trade period is going to cost an arm and a leg.

GMs looking to add players heading into Tuesday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline have spoken about waiting until the price dropped to make a move or simply standing pat rather than overpaying for rental players.

Whether Carter-for-a-fifth-round-pick proves to be the collapse of the trade market, and the subsequent opening of the trade dam, remains to be seen.

Scott Burnside is the NHL writer for ESPN.com.

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