There's only two or three roster spots available for the Hurricanes as they eye next season.
The disappointment of Saturday's loss to the Highlanders in the Super Rugby final is still evident but coach Chris Boyd will take a holiday before signing off on his recruitment.
They announced the retention of promising first-five Otere Black today to play behind Beauden Barrett and James Marshall but halfback and the midfield remain key areas of concern.
TJ Perenara is the undisputed first-choice No 9 but Chris Smylie is heading to Europe, while wider training group member Frae Wilson is unlikely to be back.
"We are pretty close to signing another one now," Boyd said.
Former Blues midfielder Pita Ahki will join the Hurricanes on a two-year deal, Boyd said, and contracted players Vince Aso and Matt Proctor remain contenders to try and fill the giant void left by the departures of Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu.
Reliable backup Rey Lee-Lo is also moving offshore.
"We are a long way down the road on our contracting," Boyd said.
Their locking stocks could also be interesting next season given Jeremy Thrush will relocate to Gloucester. They have youngsters Christian Lloyd and Geoff Cridge on the books but neither will play in this year's ITM Cup due to injury.
James Broadhurst and Mark Abbott shape as the starting second-row in 2016 with the versatile Blade Thomson also in the mix. Prop Ben Franks will move on but Ben May is around.
Boyd said most New Zealand Super Rugby squads were settled for next season but he predicted a couple of bolters would emerge from the ITM Cup as is the case each year.
Moving on from the frustration of Saturday's loss may prove more of a challenge though.
"It's been a bit of a battle, to be honest," Boyd said.
"But it's one of those things in high-performance sport, like a lot of things in life, there's a winner and a loser and unfortunately we were the loser and the spoils go to the victor. You've just got to suck it up and get on with it."
The coach struggled to explain how his men, who produced a 14-2 regular season campaign to top the standings and earn home advantage during the playoffs, were unable to perform in the biggest game of the year as their execution let them down.
"That was a bitter pill to swallow for us."
Boyd hasn't gone over the game yet but he said, once the dust had settled, he would look at where they went wrong and the loss should provide motivation for next year.
Despite losing the final, there were positives to take from their season. The coaching staff set out two clear directives at the beginning of the year: one was to reconnect with their fans and community, while the other was to win the title.
Two sold-out playoff games were evidence that the Hurricanes had found their fans again, although they missed out on lifting the trophy.
"In the end, the natural reaction at this stage is still to be absolutely gutted that we put ourselves in a position to go on to win a championship for the first time for the club and didn't do it, which is massively disappointing," Boyd said.
"But when we reflect on the season, it's been a pretty good journey."