Free agency is now less than a week away and teams are eagerly awaiting its opening. Several top players are expected to hit the open market in mid-July, while many teams also have key restricted free agents to re-sign. Next up is a look at the Carolina Hurricanes.
Key Restricted Free Agents
F Martin Necas –Just a year ago, Necas looked set to soon become one of the Hurricanes’ most important forwards. While it could still get there, his 2021-22 season was a step backwards. After scoring at a 63-point pace last season, many expected Necas to keep the promise that saw him be drafted twelfth overall in the 2017 draft and become a true top-six striker. . But for various reasons that hasn’t happened in 2021-22, and Necas have had a great season, with 40 points in 72 games, but certainly not the clear step forward many were expecting. The emergence of Seth Jarvis reduced Necas’ attacking opportunities, and Necas’ inconsistent nighttime efforts left many fans frustrated. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported that the Hurricanes might be tempted to trade Necas if they could secure an offer for a young defender in return, although he also signaled that the team was not actively looking to trade him. As a restricted free agent, Necas is likely in bridge deal territory and could land a deal of around $3-4 million, if not a bit more. Although the Hurricanes pulled the trigger on a long-term extension for Jesperi Kotkaniemi before he even completed his first season with the team, it doesn’t look like they will go down the same path with Necas.
D Ethan Bear – Bear is in a similar situation to Necas. We’ve already covered how Bear received permission from the Hurricanes to talk to other teams about other opportunities, and he too could be on the move this offseason, even if the Hurricanes want to re-sign him. Bear, 25, has seen his usage decline since averaging nearly 22 minutes of ice time per night as a rookie with the Edmonton Oilers, and he’s been a good scratch for the entirety. of the Hurricanes’ run to the second round of the playoffs this year. Bear wants to play, just like any player, and now has the option of looking for a team more willing to give him a consistent nighttime role. A short-term bridge around its current cap of $2 million, with perhaps a small increase, makes the most sense here.
Other RFAs: F Steven LorentzF David CottonF Stelio MattheosD Joey KeanD Maxime LajoieD Tarmo ReunanenD Jesper SellgrenG Jack LafontaineG hot beck
Unrestricted Key Free Agents
F Vincent Trocheck – In April, we focused in more detail on Trocheck’s upcoming free agency situation. Not much has changed since then, though his productive playoff streak (10 points in 14 games) should help his previously thin playoff recovery. Trocheck is an established two-way center who is generally considered a solid second-line center. He can usually be counted on to produce around 50 points in offense, with the potential to reach even higher numbers under the right circumstances, as he did in 2020-21 with 43 points in 47 games and in 2017 -18 when he had a career. -top 75 points. Trocheck ranked third among Hurricanes forwards in average time on the ice shorthanded per game with 1:46 and helped the Hurricanes finish first on the penalty kill in 2021-22 with an 88 hit rate % and a third place in 2020 -21 with a pass rate of 85.2%. Trocheck is also part of the elite and he won 54.6% of his faceoffs last season. Trocheck’s defensive play earned him a third-place finish for the Selke Trophy, and he’s the kind of productive center playing a 200-footer that NHL general managers are scrambling to acquire. Trocheck could earn a major contract this summer, with the potential to earn a deal similar to the seven-year, $7.14 million deal Kevin Hayes got from the Philadelphia Flyers if there’s a particularly interested suitor.
F Nino Niederreiter – Back in June, we took a closer look at Nino Niederreiter’s upcoming free agency. Niederreiter, 29, is a productive winger who can score around 20 goals and 50 points most years, although he has had less productive seasons. Niederreiter is a winger who belongs to an offensive line and can help other talented players make and finish plays. He’s not going to lead his own line or overwhelm anyone with his speed, skill or physicality, but he’s the kind of productive offensive end that can reliably outfit any second line in the NHL. Niederreiter is unlikely to get a raise from the $5.25 million he earned this season, and his next deal is actually much more likely to be below that figure when you consider global clubs at NHL fixed capitalization.
F Max Domi – Domi has been a bit of an enigma so far in his NHL career, as he’s had years where he’s been a very productive top-six fan favorite, and he’s also had seasons where he’s under -performed, butted heads with coaches and struggled to make a positive impact on the ice. The true reality of Domi’s game and the value he brings to an NHL team likely lies somewhere in the middle, and his time in Carolina provides a blueprint of what teams can reasonably expect from Domi going forward. ‘before. The 27-year-old scored seven points in 19 regular season games and six points in 14 playoff games, and became the Hurricanes’ Game 7 hero with two important goals in the team’s win over the Boston Bruins. Domi brings real energy and offensive skill to a roster, but he struggles to read the ice and use his teammates effectively. So while his offensive talent is undeniable (his 72 points on an otherwise offensively mediocre Montreal Canadiens team is proof of that), his vision is the most important factor preventing him from being a consistent force among the six. first. If a team is reasonable with their expectations, they could get a strong mid-six winger at a price that is unlikely to be exorbitant.
Other FMUs: F Derek StepanD Ian ColeD Brendan SmithF Josh LeivoF Sam MileticF Stefan NoesenF Andrew PoturalskiF Spencer SmallmanF C.J. SmithD Josh JacobsG Alexander Lyons
Projected ceiling space
As you’d expect for a team made up of several established NHL players whose contracts have expired, the Hurricanes aren’t without wiggle room under the salary cap this summer. CapFriendly projects they will have more than $19 million of room to work with, although that projection is for defenseman Jake Gardiner still on long-term injured reserve. Gardiner is now healthy, LTIR ineligible and ready to play. If Carolina was the most cap space to work with for Wednesday, they’d have to move Gardiner and his $4.05 million cap.
Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Contract information courtesy of CapFriendly.