Without question, one of the top priorities for Carolina this off-season is acquiring a top-six winger, preferably one who can play on the first line with Eric Staal. Jim Rutherford has stated that this is what he plans to do this off-season but a problem he will run into is that the free agent pool this year is very shallow. There will be at least seven teams bidding on one player which means that someone is going to have to overpay to acquire him. his strategy will help a team in the short-term but it could also hurt them a few years down the line when they are still paying big money for a player whose production is declining. This is the same dilemma that most of the teams trying to sign Brad Richards ran into last year. The Rangers knew they could be a contending team as soon as this year, which is why they felt the need to give Richards that big contract. Carolina probably doesn't have the same mindset, so the likelihood of Rutherford handing out a big deal is slim.
However, this doesn't mean that Rutherford isn't going to be aggressive in his search for a top-line winger because he has to take that approach if he wants to land anyone who will make an immediate impact. There might be a chance of the Canes landing a big name free agent, but if don't, who else is out there and how much are they available for? I looked at some of the players that Rutherford could possibly buy low on a couple months ago, but that only covered certain players. After the jump, we'll take a look at all of the potential unrestricted free agents who could possibly play in the top-six for the Hurricanes and determine which ones are the right guys to go after.