With the beginning of the free agency period just around the corner, here is my take on what the Hurricanes should do during this offseason. While the Canes do have financial limitations, there are plenty of decisions to be made. Based on history, I am assuming the Canes will set a personal salary cap of about $50 to $51 million. This would put them somewhere between $3 and $5 million below the NHL salary cap and allow them a little room in add a piece or two during the season. Please let me know what you think of my opinions.
Hurricanes Unrestricted Free Agents
Erik Cole – Cole is a gritty winger that can use his speed, power, and skill to change a game. He drives the net, will go in the high traffic areas, and has the skills to be a big point producer. He has improved his defensive game enough to contribute on the penalty kill in limited situations. The areas of concern for him are his injury history, puck control, and consistency. He fits best in a 2nd line role, but can move up to the 1st line on occasions and can contribute on special teams.
My offer: 4 years @ $9 million or 5 years @ $11 million.
This is about half of what he is making now, but these offers would allow him to finish his career in Raleigh. If he wants more money, I would let him walk.
Chad LaRose – LaRose is a high energy guy that can play many different roles on the team. He’s not afraid of mixing it up, works harder than anyone else, and can play on any line. His work ethic will produce some points; he agitates opposing players, and is a good penalty killer. The areas of concern for him are his lack of size and he’s not the most skilled player. He fits best in a 3rd line role, but can move between line mates and play on the penalty kill.
My offer: 4 years @ $5 to $5.6 million.
He may be offered more money from a higher budget team, but I think Carolina is where he belongs and where I hope he stays.
Dennis Seidenberg – Seidenberg is a solid two-way defenseman. He can contribute in the offensive zone and on a 2nd power play unit. He has decent size, can skate, and moves the puck effectively. His areas of concern are his physical presence in the defensive zone and his heart; he sometimes plays very nonchalant. He fits best in a 3rd line role and can work on the power play.
My offer: 2 years @ $3 to $3.5 million.
Seidenberg is an above average defenseman that I would like to see back in a Hurricanes uniform, but he shouldn't command a huge pay raise. If he is offered $2 million + a year by another team, there are other options out there for the Canes.
Ryan Bayda – Bayda is a hard worker that can produce on occasion. He has a little skill and will do whatever is asked of him. He’ll go the net, bang bodies, and will throw in a goal every once in a while. His areas of concern are his size, his skill level, and his age. He’s old enough to know that he not going to improve much more. He fits best on the 4th line or reserve forward, but can occasionally move up a line to fill a hole.
My offer: A two-way contract; 2 years @ 1 million.
If LaRose goes elsewhere, I think the Canes need to resign Bayda. I think if LaRose resigns, Bayda would have to sign a two-way deal to stay in Carolina. He needs to do what is best for him and going to another team may be his best bet.
Michael Ryan – Occasional 4th liner. My offer: two-way contract; 1 year @ $500,000
Matt Murley – Occasional 4th liner that can kill penalties. My offer: two-way contract; 1 year @ $500,000