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Carolina Hurricanes Free Agent Targets: Forwards

The 2021 Free Agent Frenzy will kick off Wednesday with a ton of options at all three positions. Let’s take a look at some potential forward targets.

Colorado Avalanche v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Six Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes currently have a little under $30 million in cap space to fill out the rest of their roster and need at least two forwards, two defensemen and two goaltenders if not a bit more.

While free agency can usually be a trap that many teams fall into, with bidding wars ongoing for players starting to move past their peaks, this year presents a lot of interesting names for a team that is looking for a big splash and needs to win now.

What is Carolina looking for?

In the forward department, the Hurricanes should obviously look to add a top-six scoring winger — as every team should always be — but they also need another middle-six winger and cheap contract wingers to supplement a fourth line with Steven Lorentz.

While Carolina hasn’t been involved in many rumors surrounding forwards yet, let’s still take a look at some of the bigger names on the market.

Gabriel Landeskog

  • Last Season Stats: 54GP-20G-32A-52Pts
  • Last Contract: 7x$5.571
  • EH Projected Contract: 7x$8.791
JFresh Hockey

The longtime Colorado captain is reportedly at a divide with the team over his next contract and as such he may actually be hitting the market on Wednesday.

Landeskog is a top-six winger that can bring physicality and leadership to any team. With experience playing alongside two elite-level players, he could be a good fit on a team wanting to make a splash.

Landeskog won’t come cheap nor on a short-term, so this move would have to be part of an all-in mentality, which Carolina might not be comfortable with, but Landeskog is surely a worthwhile player.

Brandon Saad

  • Last Season Stats: 44GP-15G-9A-24Pts
  • Last Contract: 6x$6
  • EH Projected Contract: 4x$4.944
JFresh Hockey

Saad is a goal scorer.

He’s scored 20 or more goals in five of the last seven seasons and is still an elite finisher in the league.

While his two-way game isn’t as strong, Carolina would be amiss to not put its name into the hat to acquire his talents. Saad is exactly the talent that the Canes are looking for and he’d be a great asset paired with a playmaker like Martin Necas or Teuvo Teravainen.

Blake Coleman

  • Age: 29
  • Last Season Stats: 55GP-14G-17A-31P
  • Last Contract: 3x$1.8
  • EH Projected Contract: 4x$4.698
JFresh Hockey

If you can’t beat them, recruit their players. Coleman has been one of the most underrated wingers in the league and was really able to shine after coming to Tampa Bay two seasons ago.

He was part of the Lightning’s effective shutdown and forechecking line with Yanni Gourde and Barclay Goodrow, so it would make sense that he could be just as effective on a line with Jordan Staal and Jesper Fast who are very similar players to Coleman’s former linemates.

A strong two-way player, Coleman also brings a physical edge and can play on the penalty kill. Adding him would instantly bolster Carolina’s middle-six.

Mikael Granlund

  • Age: 29
  • Last Season Stats: 51GP-13G-14A-27Pts
  • Last Contract: 1x$3.75
  • EH Projected Contract: 3x$5.036
JFresh Hockey

Seems like Granlund gets mentioned a lot around here, but there are good reasons for that. He is a talented forward that can play at center as well as on the wing and he’s a legit top-six player.

He was an excellent playmaker in Minnesota, but saw his production drop off in Nashville, which was to be expected. If he came to Carolina, his numbers should rebound and that would be a huge boost to the top-six.

Kyle Palmieri

  • Age: 30
  • Last Season Stats: 51GP-10G-11A-21Pts
  • Last Contract: 5x$4.65
  • EH Projected Contract: 3x$4.219
JFresh Hockey

If I had to make a bet on Palmieri, it would be that he re-signs with the Islanders, but if not, he is quite a talented player and one that should be on Carolina’s radar.

He’s capable of playing up and down the lineup in a myriad of roles, but his forte is for...

Tomas Tatar

  • Age: 30
  • Last Season Stats: 50GP-10G-20A-30P
  • Last Contract: 4x$5.3
  • EH Projected Contract: 3x$5.236
JFresh Hockey

Tatar has been a confusing case. His isolated impacts show a great 5v5 play driver who makes a difference on both sides of the ice and his regular season stats support that, but he has been a steady healthy scratch through his last three playoff appearances.

Tatar might be worth taking a flyer on just because there seems to be else at work here, but if his value drops due to the lack of postseason time, then why not take the chance on upgrading the middle-six with his talents.

Jaden Schwartz

  • Age: 29
  • Last Season Stats: 40GP-8G-13A-21P
  • Last Contract: 5x$5.35
  • EH Projected Contract: 3x$4.757
JFresh Hockey

Maybe Carolina doesn’t need another defensive center, but Schwartz has a lot of experience playing in St. Louis’ top six and regardless, he is the type of player the Hurricanes like.

He has been a 60-point player multiple times in his career and he could make a similar impact in Carolina while bringing his stellar defensive game with him, but that is if he played on the wing, which isn’t always a guaranteed transition.

Matias Janmark

  • Age: 28
  • Last Season Stats: 56GP-11G-13A-24P
  • Last Contract: 1x$2.25
  • EH Projected Contract: 4x$3.782
JFresh Hockey

Janmark is a defensive winger that’s seen his overall impact fall since leaving Dallas. He went on a shooting bender early into last season with Chicago and that earned him a trade deadline move to Vegas where he was all right.

He isn’t a player that you’d want to overspend on, but could see value as a cheap addition to the bottom-six.

Honorable Mentions

  • Ryan Getzlaf

The Anaheim Ducks captain brings a lot to the table, but the Canes aren’t in need of a veteran center. Just the fact that a player of his pedigree is going to be a UFA is worth mentioning

  • Eric Staal

Until the day he retires, any uncertainty about a home for Staal will always create rumblings in Carolina.

  • Corey Perry

Each of Perry’s last two teams made it to the Stanley Cup Finals (albeit they lost), so why not take a flyer on a physical net-front presence.

  • Brock McGinn

We all know McGinn and the value he brings. The Canes should try to keep him.

Unqualified RFAs

  • Pius Suter

I can’t believe the Blackhawks didn’t qualify Suter. Please try to sign him.

  • Ondrej Kase

Kase has long been linked to the Hurricanes in trade rumors, but the Czech forward’s injuries have essentially ruined his career. Maybe taking a cheap flier on him wouldn’t hurt, but it’s a risk.

  • Nick Ritchie

A big, physical player that goes to the net. If it can be had for cheap, then why not?

  • Evgeny Svechnikov

There’s something to be said about a player who couldn’t stick around on the very bad Detroit Red Wings teams of the past few years and it isn’t a positive thing. Would his presence help the Canes sign Andrei? Maybe. But is there also the chance that when he is cut it will put a bit of a damper on feelings between the club and the superstar? Also possible, and not worth that risk.