Hurricanes Offer PTO To Raffi Torres
Photo: Tommy Laporte / Icon Sportswire
It was revealed on Tuesday that the Carolina Hurricanes offered thirty-four year old veteran Left Wing Raffi Torres a PTO (Professional Try Out). This news came under the scrutiny of many Hurricanes fans as well as general fans of hockey as many expressed their disagreement with General Manager Ron Francis’ decision. Torres, an Unrestricted Free Agent this summer, has had trouble finding a job and has not gained much, if any, interest from teams around the league. Torres has a notable history of dirty play and that history has played a significant role in the lack of offers this off season. Along with his background of cheap shots, Torres is an aging player who is coming off a knee injury and doesn’t really have the particular skill set most teams are seeking.
I myself don’t mind the idea of bringing in an enforcer to play in Raleigh. It’s intriguing and other fans should be enticed also. The Canes have not had a true enforcer type of player in the lineup since trading away Kevin Westgarth in 2013. They were also one of the smallest teams in the NHL and lacked any reason to be feared by opponents. Intimidation, grit, and size is needed at the NHL level in order to be both feared and respected. Teams should come into your barn dreading to play you because you are a hard, physical team to play against. It is also not a bad idea to dress a bigger player who can protect the smaller stars on your team as well in case things get out of hand, such examples as Teuvo Teraväinen and Sebastian Aho for Carolina this year. The closest thing Carolina had last year to that was Brad Malone, who signed a Free Agent contract this summer with the Washington Capitals, and even he wasn’t quite as physical of a palyer as I’d liked.
Raffi Torres can potentially bring a special and much needed level of tenacity to the Hurricanes but the question will be can he keep it clean? Torres has been suspended multiple times in his career for unacceptable hits (most notably, he served 21 games for this illegal check to the head of Marian Hossa in the 2012 playoffs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY9CmK86fhs, and was dealt 41 games for this insensible charge on Jakob Silfverberg in a pre-season game just last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VB_QyKHbPvE) and many fans admit they would not want to witness a player with this kind of reputation donning a Canes sweater, much less playing another game in the National Hockey League.
The Hurricanes could use a goon but will Torres be able to make the cut? I personally don’t believe he will. Aforementioned, Torres is coming off an injury and is also aging out of a sport that is becoming ever faster paced and more dependent on skill than ever before. He could simply be a body to fill a spot during training camp and pre-season while the World Cup of Hockey takes place in late September. There will be other younger, more skilled players looking to make the team at the same time so it will take Raffi showing some serious effort to make the cut. Torres has scored twenty or more goals twice in his NHL career but I do not think we’ll see flashes of that. However, he could be a serviceable player on the fourth line. The good news is that he is here on nothing but a PTO and not an actual contract, which will allow him to be cut rather quickly if it comes down to it. At the very least the coming month or so should make the Hurricanes an interesting team to follow during this dull time in the hockey world.