The Carolina Hurricanes will be dipping into the free agency market this off season, but who will they be targeting?
This week at the round table, we each select one unrestricted free agent that we think will help the team and give the details of the deal. (We try to be realistic about this).
The question this week is: Which current UFA should the Hurricanes target this offseason and why should he be a priority? Explain the terms of the contract you would sign him at.
Cory Lavalette - Editor
One of the things Carolina has been missing from its lineup over the past several years, in my opinion, is a top-notch agitator to take some of the pressure off of the skill players and change the Hurricanes’ reputation to one that's tougher to play against. With that in mind, the team’s top target should be center Steve Ott.
Jeff Berrier (PP17)- Contributor
While there are a couple of interesting UFAs out there this offseason, like a Ryan Callahan, a Paul Stastny, a Matt Niskanen or even a Ales Hemsky. If I had to choose just one that I believe would work well in Carolina and probably fit in the Hurricanes budget, I would choose defenseman Mark Fayne.
Fayne is a solid right-hand defenseman that can log some minutes, has very good possession numbers and can contribute on the penalty kill. He has the ability to provide a little bit of offense, but that isn’t a particular strong suit for him. Over the past 3 seasons (I adjusted the 12/13 season to an 82 game schedule), Fayne has averaged 69 games, 3 goals, 9 assists, 12 points, and Even rating, 53.8% 5-on-5 Corsi in 19:06 TOI/G. While Fayne might not be a huge impact player that most fantasize about, I think he would fill a need in Carolina’s top 4 and he could be useful in whatever direction the Canes move toward. He could fit with the existing group and he could be a part of a rebuilding group if that is the direction Carolina goes.
Like I mentioned in my article, I think we could sign him for 4 years, $11.8 million or a $2.95 million cap hit. But I might be willing to go to 4 years, $13 million or a $3.25 million cap hit, but that would probably be my max and that’s mainly because there are other issues to address. I really think Mark Fayne would be one of my top UFA targets this offseason if I was Ron Francis.
Brian (C-Leaguer) - Contributor
Ott will bring the toughness and leadership that the team needs. He will also help the Canes go three deep at center and allow Lindholm to come along slowly in the league. The big question will be if the Blues let him get to free agency or if they decide to keep him in the fold.
Bob Wage - Managing Editor
Wouldn't it be nice to make a play for Andrei Markov? That is who I prefer, but that is but a dream.
There are a number of players who could help the Hurricanes and I agree with the choice of Steve Ott from above. I also think a reasonable offer should be made for Mason Raymond, but I will stick to the rules and make one choice here.
The man I would go after is Matt Moulson.
Moulson had a disappointing postseason with Minnesota, but this guy has scored a lot of goals in recent years and could definitely give the offense a boost. He scored 23 goals this season in 75 games, while playing for three different teams. He had three straight years of 30 goals plus for the Islanders and then 15 in the lockout shortened season.
If he could gain some chemistry with one of the Staal brothers, there is little doubt he could rack up a lot of points again. Moulson is a top six guy who has been a bit under the radar around the league and is a rare 30 goal scorer who has never earned $4 million plus per year.
He would also help out on the powerplay, something that Carolina is in dire need of. (Five of his six goals with the Islanders last season were powerplay tallies).
While he is not known to be a physical player, he is usually sound defensively and plays a decent two-way game.
His last contract was a three-year deal paying $9.4 million. I would offer a two-year contract at $4 to $4.5 per season and see how close we were. There is little doubt that the Islanders would love to have him back, so the bad news is that a bidding war might ensue and I would not go much higher than that offer.
If we could not sign Moulson, I would kick the tires on Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri, and Ales Hemsky. Each of these guys has seen better days and should be open to a short-term, cheaper contract than what they have signed at in recent years.
The reason for my thinking here is that the Canes need help on the powerplay. They will not make the playoffs by continually having one of the worst powerplays in the league.