Wesley, the last originial Cane in Carolina, re-signs
The deal keeps the 38-year-old defenseman with the team he helped lead to the Stanley Cup in 2006. Wesley is the last original Hurricane from the 1997-98 squad -- the first in North Carolina for the former Hartford Whalers franchise -- and ranks second in team history with 835 games played.
"Obviously the fire and the passion is still there and I think that's the biggest part of it for me," Wesley said. "I think we've got a great core group of guys that can look at doing it again, and that's first and foremost what we want to strive for this year."
Keeping Wesley brings back two decades of NHL experience for the Hurricanes, who missed the playoffs in their title defense. Carolina president and general manager Jim Rutherford called Wesley "a steadying force on our blueline."
"His leadership is important to the fabric of our dressing room and we are glad he is returning to play another season," Rutherford said.
Wesley considered retiring after the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup last season, which came in his fourth trip to the finals, before signing a one-year, $1.2 million contract in July. He had one goal and 12 assists while ranking second on the team with 103 blocked shots in 68 games last season, but he missed the last six games with a foot injury.
"Not being able to contribute was very frustrating," he said. "That's not the way you want to finish the year in any circumstance. Missing the playoffs even though we went through the injuries and guys having off years, it brings us back to be more motivated as a group."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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