Because of increased corporate and ticket revenue, along with the renegotiated television deal with FS Carolinas that kickoffs in the fall of 2013, the Hurricanes have money to spend for one of the most coveted player for the first time since they successfully pursued Ron Francis in 1998. They also have additional funds from the millions collected from Peter Karmanos' new minority owners.
"Based on my conversation with Mr. Karmanos, we've talked about a top-line player," Rutherford said. "He agrees that that's something we want to do. Not what we've done in the past with free agents, where we go to the second-tier free-agent group, or the third tier or the fourth tier, but a top-line player. If it's available by free agency or trade, we're going to do everything we can to make that happen this year."
The Canes had their eyes on Parise back in 2003 when they selected Staal with the second overall draft pick, but weren't able to work a deal for a second pick in the first round to get Parise. They are looking for a second chance, but so is just about every other team in the league.
Meanwhile, Staal, who flourished under new coach Kirk Muller this season, admitted he cringed when Erik Cole wasn't replaced during another frustrating summer and said he's willing to help with any recruiting effort this time around.
"For me, yeah, it can be (frustrating)," Staal said. "Obviously I have the utmost respect for Jim and for Pete and the business that they run. I'm a player for them and I will compete and work and do everything I can to try and help us win games. The last couple (summers) have been difficult because of losing 'Colesy' and 'Whit,' guys that were very good players and who went on to be very good players on other teams.
"But I still think we've got some good pieces here and young players who will hopefully get better next year. If we can add, like they've been saying, we'll see what happens."
The Hurricanes finished the year in 12th place of the Eastern Conference, 10 points out of a playoff spot, missing the post-season for the third straight season.