One of the top priorities for Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford this summer was to acquire a "veteran defenseman." When he said that, I thought he was going to try to sign someone like Greg Zanon, Carlo Colaiacovo, Scott Hannan or Michal Rozsival to replace the departing Bryan Allen. The Canes needed someone who could play top-four minutes and kill penalties to fillt he void that Allen left and there were more than a few defensemen out there who fit the bill. The veteran defenseman who Rutherford eventually signed, however, was way off my radar. That player being the now three-time Carolina Hurricane, Joe Corvo.
The reason why Corvo was so far off my radar, other than the fact that he's been traded from Carolina twice in the last four years, is because he is more known for his offense and his play in Boston last season suggested that he is barely a top-four defenseman now. He started off playing some big minutes in Boston but was soon regulated to a third pairing/powerplay specialist role and even found himself in the press box for a handful of games later in the year. Corvo is also 35 years old, so he may not have much left in the tank at this point. It just seemed a bit odd that Rutherford would sign him over some of the other candidates out there.
Perhaps Rutherford decided it would be better to go with the devil he knows rather than someone like Zanon, Hanan or Rozsival since they are also past 30 years of age and the Hurricanes are far less familiar with those players than they are with Corvo. It's worth noting that Corvo has played very well in the past with the Hurricanes. Was he the ideal defenseman? No, but he has been able to be a competent top-four defenseman during his history with the Hurricanes. The last time he was here, he was essentially being used in an all-around role and put up some decent boxcar and underlying numbers to boot.
A lot can change in two years, though as Corvo's play seemed to diminish quite a bit with the Bruins last year. This could be due to him not fitting the Bruins' system or his age catching up to him. Whatever the reason, the Bruins coaching staff didn't have much confidence in Corvo last year, as they used him in an extremely sheltered role and he could go back to having to play tough minutes with the Canes if no one else can fill into Bryan Allen's spot. I am not sure how the team plans to use him next year or even if he fits Kirk Muller's system, but one thing we do know is that Corvo can be counted on to be effective on the powerplay and produce a decent amount offensively. How much will he produce for the Hurricanes in this coming season. We will look into that after the jump.