The Carolina Hurricanes have some interesting decisions to make in the offseason as they look to expand cap space and allow flexibility to make additional moves to strengthen their current core.
Notable names are coming off the books before the 2020-21 season including Patrick Marleau’s cap hit and the Hurricanes will face the last year of Alex Semin’s buyout (!!!). Notable players like Jaccob Slavin, Dougie Hamilton & Teuvo Teravainen remain on team-friendly contracts. Sebastian Aho will lead all players with an $8.454 million AAV but the team must take steps to prepare for Andrei Svechnikov’s likely massive deal after the 2020-21 season.
Here’s a look at how things could shake out. For convenience’s sake, we are focusing on NHL players only; this list does not include any players who are in the AHL or other leagues:
Under Contract/Committed: $62,400,666
- Sebastian Aho, $8.454 million (UFA 2024)
- Jordan Staal, $6 million (UFA 2023)
- Dougie Hamilton, $5.75 million (UFA 2021)
- Teuvo Teravainen, $5.45 million (UFA 2024)
- Jaccob Slavin, $5.3 million (UFA 2025)
- Nino Niederreiter, $5.25 million UFA (2022)
- Jake Gardiner, $4.05 million (UFA 2023)
- Brett Pesce, $4.025 million (UFA 2024)
- James Reimer, $3.4 million (UFA 2021)
- Ryan Dzingel, $3.375 million (UFA 2021)
- Petr Mrazek, $3.125 million (UFA 2021)
- Brock McGinn, $2.1 million (UFA 2021)
- Jordan Martinook, $2 million (UFA 2021)
- Andrei Svechnikov, $925,000 (RFA 2021)
- Martin Necas, $863,333 (RFA 2022)
- Alexander Semin buyout, $2,333,333 (2021)
Pending Free Agents
Joel Edmundson - UFA (current cap hit: $3.1 million)
Coming over in the Justin Faulk trade, Edmundson has been a solid stay-at-home defenseman on the back end. Edmundson is just 26 years old but don’t project his growth to go much higher than what it currently is. Edmundson will likely get re-signed this off-season and come in at around the same value. A three-year deal worth $3.5 million AAV seems appropriate unless another team decides to swoop in and overpay.
Erik Haula - UFA (current cap hit: $2.75 million)
This is the trickiest situation for the Hurricanes heading into the offseason. Haula has been streaky since arriving in Raleigh and has missed time due to injury, similar to the situation the Hurricanes were in with Micheal Ferland. When healthy, Haula is a welcome addition to the middle-six. Current contract comparables include Jean-Gabriel Pageau of the Senators (cap hit $3.1 million) and the Canadiens’ Philip Danault (cap hit just over $3 million). In 32 games with the Canes this season, Haula has 19 points (11 goals, 8 assists). If the Hurricanes do re-sign him, it would likely be for at least a million dollars more than his current $2.75 million cap hit. However, the risk likely outweighs the award and Haula will likely not be a member of the Hurricanes next season - but they will have to replace him.
Trevor van Riemsdyk - UFA (current cap hit: $2.3 million)
Ah, the curious case of Trevor van Riemsdyk. In what initially seemed like a bargain has turned into a streaky asset. At varying points this season, van Riemsdyk has been the best and worst Hurricanes defenseman on the ice. Consistent efforts haven’t been in his repertoire this year. It seems unlikely the Hurricanes pursue an extension with TVR, given the younger, cheaper assets under contract in Charlotte.
Haydn Fleury - RFA with arb rights (current cap hit: $850,000)
Fleury has become the most interesting contract on the team with the constant movement over the past few seasons. He has shown flashes and the Hurricanes hold his rights again, although this time he is eligible for arbitration. Is it time for them to cut him loose or continue to try to make him part of the team? Logic would dictate the former, rather than the latter. That said, it’s highly unlikely the Hurricanes wouldn’t tender a qualifying offer to retain his RFA rights, so if he moves on it would likely be via a trade. That could keep Fleury around for another year, given his arbitration-eligible status. He still has three more seasons until he hits unrestricted free agency.
Warren Foegele - RFA with arb rights (current cap hit: $746,667)
Foegele has become a heart & soul player on the team. He’s put together a stronger performance than last year where he sputtered a bit after a strong start before finally returning to full force in the playoffs. Foegele is earning less than $1 million and will require a contract likely double of what he earns. His value will likely come in at or around $2 million, on a duration of 2-3 years.
Justin Williams - UFA (current cap hit: $700,000)
This seems to be it for the three-time Stanley Cup winner. In what looks like a last effort to add one more ring to his finger, it’s highly unlikely Williams returns to Carolina — or any team for that matter. A Williams contract will not be on the books next season.
Lucas Wallmark - RFA with arb rights (current cap hit: $675,000)
Wallmark has been a valuable member of the bottom-six over the past two seasons and it’s now time for the Hurricanes to reward him. The Swedish forward is earning less than the league minimum and will require a contract at least double of what he currently earns. Similar to Foegele, the Hurricanes will likely sign Wallmark to a 2-3 year bridge deal with a $2 million AAV and he’ll continue to add around 30-40 points per season from the bottom-six.
The Final Total
Adding up all the players already under contract, and penciling in new contracts for Edmundson, Foegele and Wallmark (total $7.5 million), the Hurricanes are right now looking at around $70 million in committed salary for next season. In theory they will have plenty of money to spend, but a lot of that is going to go toward new contracts for Svechnikov and Hamilton, both of whom are eligible to sign new deals on July 1. Any extensions won’t count against next year’s cap, but the Hurricanes can’t hamstring themselves by becoming spendthrifts next summer and leave themselves in danger of not being able to fit the new deals for Svechnikov and Hamilton under the cap in the future.
So the Hurricanes will have a bit of money left over, with which they’re going to have to replace Haula (Julien Gauthier?), but it won’t be much. The cap is projected to rise to around $83 million, so it will be tight once again to make the Hurricanes fit under the cap.