FanPost

Looking Ahead to 13/14

We all are looking to next season and putting in our 2 cents. Here I will break down our contract situation for next season, so we may have a realistic idea of what product we will be able to put on the ice next season.

Expiring Contracts:

According to capgeek the Canes have a few guys with expiring contracts next year. IMO we don't have enough. Here is a look at who's contract is expiring:

NHL:

  1. Chad Larose UFA 1.7m
  2. Zac Dalpe RFA 875k
  3. Riley Nash RFA 875k
  4. Tim Brent UFA 750k
  5. Joe Corvo UFA 2m
  6. MA Bergeron UFA 1m
  7. B Sanguinetti UFA 700k
  8. Brett Bellemore UFA 525k
  9. Dan Ellis UFA 800k
  10. Tim Wallace UFA 700k

Prospects:

  1. Jenks
  2. Nodl
  3. Gragnani
  4. Boychuk
  5. Jordan
  6. Samson
  7. Pither
  8. Krueger
  9. Jared Staal
  10. Sova
  11. Brett Sutter
  12. Muse
These prospects all have expiring RFA contracts, so they should be renewed easily if that is what the Canes front office wishes.

Outlook:

If we assume nobody is resigned next year our lines will look like this:

FWD: () = expiring contract slot to fill.

  1. E. Staal - Tlusty - Semin
  2. J. Staal - Skinner - Ruutu
  3. Bowman - () - Dwyer
  4. () - () - Westgarth
DEF:
  1. Gleason - Faulk
  2. McBain - Pitkanen
  3. Harrison - Murphy
Capgeek says that the Canes have $8,197,500 in cap space next season. With Murphy called up and his salary counting against the cap it will only leave the Canes with $6,853,333 in cap to fill the remaining spots.
Now we know that even though we are only showing 3 open spots, this will not be sufficient since hockey is a sport that requires depth. People will get hurt.
If the Canes go the easy route and re-sign their expiring RFA's Dalpe and Nash (they should IMO) to contracts of the same value they will be left with $5,103,333 in cap space. The lines would look like this:
FWD:
  1. E. Staal - Tlusty - Semin
  2. J. Staal - Skinner - Ruutu
  3. Bowman - Nash - Dwyer
  4. Dalpe - () - Westgarth
DEF:
  1. Gleason - Faulk
  2. McBain - Pitkanen
  3. Harrison - Murphy
The Hurricanes would need to fill a few more spots in order to have a reasonable roster next season. They need a 4th line center, depth winger, and depth defenseman. All can be had easily for 5 million that is left over. Another option the Canes have to improve is a good draft pick.

Draft:

If the season ended today the canes would have the 5th overall pick (assuming the lottery goes accordingly). According to Hockey's Future the Canes are the 25th ranked team prospect wise. This is pretty bad considering we haven't been a playoff team in several years. One of the main problems IMO is because we have had 9th place finishes a few times, you could call us the Calgary Flames of the Eastern Conference. This year's draft is supposed to be a deep draft, and Hockey's Future says that we are lacking in winger depth and Goalie depth. I tend to agree. One area I disagree with is I believe that you cannot really judge prospects due to position in the CHL or wherever they previously played. Not all the time do young centers make the jump to center in the NHL (see Jeff Skinner). Here is a look at the upcoming prospects in the top 10 according to TSN that the Canes should be looking at:

Craig's List: (March 4)

  1. Seth Jones - D
  2. Jonathan Drouin - LW
  3. Nate MacKinnon - C
  4. Aleksander Barkov - C
  5. Valeri Nichushkin - LW
  6. Darnell Nurse - D
  7. Sean Monahan - C
  8. Elias Lindholm - C
  9. Nikita Zadorov - D
  10. Zachary Fucale - G

ISS Ranking: (March 15)

  1. Seth Jones - D
  2. Valeri Nichushkin - LW
  3. Nate MacKinnon - C
  4. Jonathan Drouin - LW
  5. Darnell Nurse - D
  6. Aleksander Barkov - C
  7. Nikita Zadorov - D
  8. Elias Lindholm - C
  9. Sean Monahan - C
  10. Rasmus Ristolainen - D
I personally think that the Canes should look at drafting forwards. The Canes desperately need to improve their defense, but I think they need to do that with veterans through trade or free agency. The player that I really like in this draft that I think the Canes have a good shot at getting is Aleksander Barkov. Although he is listed as a center, I believe that he would fit well with a players like Skinner and Dalpe. He is a playmaker.
Another place the Hurricanes need to look at to improve their roster is in free agency this coming off season. The only problem here is the obvious, the cap room. Here is a look at some notable free agents according to Cap Geek:

Depth Centers / 4th liners:

1. Boyd Gordon - 1.3 mil - good defensive fwd, good at face-offs - somewhat injury-prone, not very good offensively

2. David Steckel - 1.1 mil - great at face-offs, big defensive fwd, can score - not very fast

3. Chris Mueller - 550k - affordable, versatile fwd, has worked with Muller before - not very strong, only 5'11

There are not a lot of options at the center position that will be affordable. I think Steckel would be a good fit, and I was hoping we would land him last year. Muller did say that we would need to get bigger if we entered a into a division with the Atlantic teams. Steckel would be a guy that could help.
To look at how the Canes can improve their defense check out PackPride's take here.
Let me know what you guys think!
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