Carolina has options at trade deadline

Updated: February 7, 2012, 2:33 PM ET
By Craig Custance

As it turns out, signing Tim Gleason to a contract extension was a pretty inspired move by Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford.

Typically at this time of year, teams near the bottom of the standings get what they can for their potential unrestricted free agents and move on. But Rutherford is already planning his offseason, and adding a top-four defenseman was not something he wanted to deal with in free agency -- especially when prices skyrocket as teams fight over the available talent. He signed his own guy, and now he can focus on surrounding star forwards Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner with the help they need this summer.

"By signing Gleason, it took all the pressure off of doing certain things in the offseason," Rutherford said.