The floodgates opened at noon Wednesday to the NHL’s annual free agent frenzy, but Hurricanes GM Ron Francis used the first hour of the annual money meat market to secure some of his own players, signing Riley Nash, Rasmus Rissanen and Jaccob Slavin to contracts.
The Hurricanes re-signed Nash, who was officially an unrestricted free agent after not being qualified as an RFA, to a one-year deal worth $1.15 million. Nash, 26, had 25 points last season and figures to compete for the third line center job in 2015-16.
The team also inked Rissanen to a one-year, two-way deal. Rissanen will make $575,000 in the NHL and $125,000 in the AHL, with $150,000 guaranteed. Rissanen, a 23-year-old defenseman, played six games with the Hurricanes last year, but was injured in mid-March and missed the balance of the season.
Carolina further bolstered their defense with the signing of Slavin, a 2012 fourth-round pick, to a three-year entry-level contract. Slavin was set to be a junior with Colorado College this fall and perhaps the Tigers captain, but after initially turning down Carolina’s overtures — a source told CanesCountry.com that he was offered less bonus money than fellow prospect and NCAA defenseman Brett Pesce — the 21-year-old blueliner opted to leave college early and join the Hurricanes. He will earn $832,500 in the NHL and $70,000 in the AHL annually, and gets a $277,500 signing bonus.
Here are the releases from the team:
HURRICANES AGREE TO TERMS WITH RILEY NASH
Center set NHL career highs in assists and points in 2014-15
RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with center Riley Nash on a one-year contract. The deal will pay Nash $1,150,000 in 2015-16.
"Riley gives the Hurricanes good depth at center," said Francis. "He now has two full NHL seasons under his belt and we look forward to seeing him continue to grow as a player."
Nash, 26, played in 68 games with the Hurricanes in 2014-15, posting NHL career highs in assists (17) and points (25) during his second full NHL season. The Consort, Alb., native has scored 22 goals and earned 37 assists (59 points) in 178 career NHL games with the Hurricanes since making his NHL debut during the 2011-12 season. The Hurricanes originally acquired Nash (6’1", 200 lbs.) via trade from Edmonton on June 26, 2010.
‘CANES AGREE TO TERMS WITH RASMUS RISSANEN
Defenseman made his NHL debut in 2014-15
RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Rasmus Rissanen on a one-year, two-way contract. The deal will pay Rissanen $575,000 in the NHL or $125,000 in the American Hockey League (AHL) in 2015-16, with a guarantee of $150,000.
"Rasmus has continued to progress, and saw his first NHL action last season before getting hurt," said Francis. "He is a big man and gives us depth along the blueline."
Rissanen, 23, split the 2014-15 season between Charlotte (AHL) and Carolina, appearing in six games on the NHL level. The Kuopio, Finland, native totaled a career-high 11 points (1g, 10a) and 62 penalty minutes in 52 games for the Checkers prior to receiving his first NHL recall on March 2. He made his NHL debut against the Minnesota Wild on March 6, but exited the Hurricanes’ game at Columbus on March 15, missing the remainder of the season with a knee injury.
Selected by Carolina in the sixth round, 178th overall, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Rissanen has appeared in 240 career AHL games with Charlotte, totaling 36 points (7g, 29a). He ranks second all-time in games played by a Checkers defenseman. RIssanen has represented Finland in several international competitions, including the 2008 U-18 World Junior Championship and the 2011 World Junior Championship.
‘CANES, SLAVIN AGREE ON ENTRY-LEVEL CONTRACT
Defenseman completed NCAA career at Colorado College
RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Jaccob Slavin on a three-year, entry-level contract. The deal will pay Slavin $832,500 per season at the NHL level or $70,000 at the American Hockey League (AHL) level for each season. He will also receive a signing bonus of $277,500. Slavin will immediately report to the Hurricanes’ top minor-league affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL).
"Improving our prospect depth at defense is a priority for our organization, and we felt that it was important for Jaccob to begin his professional career," said Francis. "He really improved his game during the second half of last season and we look forward to monitoring his development."
Slavin, 20, completed his second season for Colorado College of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) in 2014-15. The Erie, CO, native earned first-team, All-NCHC honors after totaling 17 points (5g, 12a) in 34 games for the Tigers. Colorado College was eliminated from the NCHC playoffs on Sunday by No. 1 North Dakota.
Slavin (6’2", 200 lbs.) completes his collegiate career with 42 points (10g, 32a) in 66 games for Colorado College. He was named NCHC Rookie of the Year in 2013-14, after leading the Tigers in points (25) and assists (20) as a freshman. Prior to beginning his collegiate career, Slavin spent three seasons with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League (USHL), notching 64 points (9g, 55a) in 139 games. Selected by the Hurricanes in the fourth round, 120th overall, in the 2012 NHL Draft, Slavin represented the United States at the 2014 World Junior Championship in Sweden, totaling two points (1g, 1a) in five games.