With the starting of free agency happening on July first, where do you think the Hurricanes will lie after it? The Hurricanes were not the best team in hockey last year, but they were good enough to reach the Eastern Conference Finals.
A question we may look into is “What can they do to improve?”
Well with some of the rumors that have spread out in Raleigh, it looks like the ‘Canes will not be resigning either Petr Mrazek or Curtis McElhinney.
Right now, reigning Calder Cup Champion Alex Nedeljkovic would take over in net for the Carolina Hurricanes if they do not resign either goalie. With Nedeljkovic still being only 23, it may be a good idea to try and keep Mrazek and have him mentor or work with Nedeljkovic for another season or two. The cap hit for Mrazek last season was only $1.5 million. After the recent NHL season, the Hurricanes should look to sign him for another 2 years with an AAV around $2 million.
Before looking into the market, the Hurricanes should also give offers to Justin Williams, Micheal Ferland, Andrew Poturalski and Patrick Brown.
Two of the top unrestricted free agents in this years market are Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene.
Carolina may be in the market for both of these players but are they willing to give the long contract both of these players want?
Panarin is the best winger in this free agent class. In this market, Panarin could be worth up towards 8-9 million dollars a year. At 27 years old he is still an elite goal scorer and point getter in this league. The Florida Panthers are one of the top teams in the mix for this player.
Matt Duchene is the best center for this year’s class but it does not look like he will sign in Carolina either. On a recent interview with Spittin’ Chicklets, Duchene told the hosts that he is looking for something long term where he can win and raise a family. Arizona looks like it will be a good fit for Duchene, so Carolina may not be in the market for him anyway.
When free agency hits on Monday the Hurricanes are probably going to look towards some wingers to help on the offensive side of things.
The Hurricanes can add depth if they offer a contract to Thomas Vanek. Vanek over his NHL career has been pretty consistent with where he stands in points. Vanek is approaching his later 30’s the Hurricanes can sign him for under 3 million a year and add scoring ability to their second or third lines.
Marcus Johansson is another player the Hurricanes should approach with an offer sheet. If the Hurricanes can use Johansson effectively he could turn out to be a great signing. Boston was able to utilize him to the fullest during their playoff run this year and make him an important role player. His cap hit right now is just under $5 million and should decrease slightly.
After the way the Charlotte Checkers dominated the American Hockey League this season, it would not come as a surprise if the Hurricanes promoted some guys before indulging in the free agent market.
Who would you like to see Carolina sign? Who would you like to see them trade for?