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Hurricanes Roster and Salary Expenses: Nine days later

Last Monday, we took a look at the status of the Carolina Hurricanes so far this off-season, and suggested where there was work remaining for Hurricanes uber-GM Jim Rutherford. With only 38 signed to pro contracts, we knew he still had some slots to fill on the rosters for both the Hurricanes and those who will be playing some (or most) of the season in Charlotte for the AHL affiliate Checkers this season.

After some expected moves (the signings of the three RFAs Nick Dodge, Bryan Rodney and Justin Pogge) and announcements of the less certain though generally well-regarded contracts with Riley Nash and Brett Carson, I have an updated table for you and the Excel file for downloading so you can explore the possibilities on your own.

Click here for that file: Hurricanes 2010-11 Roster and Salary Chart rev. July 20

With the addition of these five contracts over the last nine days, 43 hockey players are signed up with the Canes organization and ready to go in September. At the very least, one more spot remains for a forward to join the fun and the fray. With comments from Rutherford that Jeff Skinner has a shot at playing in the NHL, we have to wonder if the GM is done until at least they get a look at the talented 18-year-old sniper in action at Traverse City.

So let's take a look once more at the roster and salary status, after the jump.

As before, the players in the gray fields have two-way contracts. I have indicated only one possible scenario for who is playing in Raleigh and who in Charlotte, this time using the Hurricanes own depth chart to guide me. One example: Riley Nash is on the NHL roster, Jonathan Matsumoto is over on the AHL side.

Canes Country Roster/Salary Worksheet
2010-11 Season
HURRICANES (NHL) ROSTER Other Players w/Contract (All 2-way)
(gray cells have 2-way deals) (also known as the AHL roster - not AHL salaries)
 Name NHL Cap Hit  NHL Salary   Name NHL Cap Hit  NHL Salary 
 Eric Staal  $8,250,000   $7,500,000   Oskar Osala  $850,000   $785,000 
 Tuomo Ruutu  $3,800,000   $4,000,000   Zac Dalpe  $875,000   $637,500 
 Erik Cole  $2,900,000   $3,000,000   Chris Terry  $750,000   $625,000 
 Sergei Samsonov  $2,533,000   $2,800,000   Stefan Chaput  $548,333   $565,000 
 Chad LaRose  $1,700,000   $1,900,000   Cedric McNicoll  $610,000   $550,000 
 Jussi Jokinen  $1,700,000   $1,900,000   Jared Staal  $566,667   $550,000 
 Tom Kostopoulos  $916,667   $950,000   Matt Kennedy  $566,667   $550,000 
 Brandon Sutter  $1,225,000   $875,000   Jon Matsumoto  $512,500   $500,000 
 Zach Boychuk  $1,195,833   $875,000   Jerome Samson  $512,500   $500,000 
 Drayson Bowman  $845,833   $687,500   Matthew Pistilli  $521,667   $500,000 
 Riley Nash  $704,167   $550,000   Nicolas Blanchard  $512,500   $500,000 
 Jiri Tlusty  $500,000   $500,000   Nick Dodge  $500,000   $500,000 
 Patrick Dwyer  $500,000   $500,000   13th forward?
 Total Forwards  $26,770,500   $26,037,500 
 Joni Pitkanen  $4,000,000   $4,500,000   Bobby Sanguinetti  $855,000   $765,000 
 Tim Gleason  $2,750,000   $3,000,000   Michal Jordan  $606,667   $580,000  
 Joe Corvo  $2,250,000   $2,000,000   Brett Bellemore  $533,333   $555,000  
 Anton Babchuk  $1,400,000   $1,400,000   Kyle Lawson  $552,500   $540,000  
 Jamie McBain  $850,000   $685,000   Bryan Rodney  $525,000   $525,000 
 Brett Carson  $500,000   $500,000   Zack Fitzgerald  $500,000   $500,000  
 Jay Harrison  $500,000   $500,000   Casey Borer  $500,000   $500,000  
 Total Defense  $12,250,000   $12,585,000 
 Cam Ward  $6,300,000   $5,000,000   Murphy, Mike  $783,333   $630,000  
 Justin Peters  $525,000   $500,000   Pogge, Justin  $500,000   $500,000 
 Total Goaltenders  $6,825,000   $5,500,000 
Total Salary for roster players  $44,122,500 
 # roster players  22  Roster Size (Charlotte)  21 
 Frantisek Kaberle  $733,333   $733,333 
 Rod Brind`amour  $3,600,000   $1,000,000 
 SALARY CAP  $59,400,000 
 PAYROLL  $50,178,833   $45,855,833 
 CAP SPACE  $9,221,167  Numbers as of July 20, 2010


This little bit of tinkering with the roster line-up put the salary expense at $44,122,500. This figure is about $350,000 lower than the number I came up with last week, or less than a 1% reduction. I would guess that it is probably irrelevant, since we know that the rosters on the left and right have numerous combinations of interchangeable parts.

Further details on the new deals

To better appreciate how these negotiations are working out, let's look at both sides of the two-way deals. Twenty-six-year old RFA defenseman Bryan Rodney's salary for the 2009-10 season was $550,000 at the NHL level, but for 2010-11 his contract provides for a salary of $525,000 - a 5% pay cut. But when you look at the AHL side of the agreement, last year he was paid just $55,000 while this year he is at $105,000, nearly double.

RFA goalie Justin Pogge, 24, acquired at the deadline from the Anaheim Ducks as part of the Aaron Ward trade, had to lower his expectations even further. According to, Pogge received an NHL salary of $605,000 in his one-year contract for 2009-10, while this year he will receive just $500,000. That's 17% pay cut - if he was actually playing a full season in the NHL, which he won't be, so really this figure is more about pride than bank accounts. In contrast, Pogge's AHL salary numbers jump from $70,300 to $85,000 - a 20% raise. 

Finally, for Brett Carson, the NHL-level figure also dropped. He has gone from $525,000 in 2009-10 to $500,000 this year. When he's at the AHL level, like Bryan Rodney, his annual pay jumps from $55,000 to $105,000. However, all indications are that Carson, who is also 24, is the most likely of these players to spend the majority of his season on the blueline, paired with the likes of Joni Pitkenan or even Jamie McBain, in Raleigh. This becomes an excellent example of how these negotiations become a guessing game for the player, maximizing his immediate income while also projecting what is best for his career and long-term potential income as a professional hockey player. 

My last thought as I was running through these very "relate-able" numbers for the AHL contracts is how much these players (and the majority of professional hockey players in the NHLPA) are living in a whole different world from the nine-figure numbers in the Kovalchuk contract mess. One has to wonder if they consider Kovy's problems as part of their own, or, rather, as a situation that is beyond the limits of where (and how) they ever expect to be negotiating.