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Recent Carolina Hurricanes News

Hurricanes trade Alex Nedeljkovic to Detroit for 3rd round draft pick and negotiating rights to Jonathan Bernier

Not wasting anytime once the NHL markets reopened after the expansion draft, on Thursday not too long after the 1pm reopen, the Hurricanes traded goalie Alex Nedeljkovic to the Detroit Red Wings for a third round draft pick and negotiating rights to Jonathan Bernier. Bernier is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next week, so he represents not so much the return of a player but rather a few days head start in negotiations if he and the Canes are a good match for both. The move was maybe not as surprising as some might think. The challenge with Nedeljkovic is that though he was scheduled to become a restricted free agent, he had arbitration rights. With strong results in an impressive even if small sample 2021-22 season, the upside comparable from his side was goin to be Jordan Binnington who received a two-year contract for $4.4 million after his Cam Ward-like rookie season that ended with a Stanley Cup win. Who knows how close Nedeljkovic could would have been to that ceiling, but with the unpredictability of arbitration the potential was there.   The decision At the end of the day, I think it really came down to a single question  — How much faith would they put in Alex Nedeljkovic based on 23 starts in a strong rookie seasonhow much risk were they willing to take? Yes. Nedeljkovic was good in a small sample size, but I just do not think the team’s brain trust viewed him as a ‘the guy’ type of goalie and rightfully so considers him to be a bit riskier than a... read more

Seattle Kraken expansion draft day

The day is here. Today former Hurricanes player, captain and General Manager Ron Francis will build an NHL team from scratch. Most interesting to me will be seeing how creative Francis is with a plethora of options to do some combination of building a team for 2021-22, collecting futures and leveraging a unique position. My gut feeling is that he will not be creative enough with some interesting options, but I am ready to be proven wrong. Even more so than the Vegas draft, I think there are good opportunities to acquire some players with the intent of trading some of them later. Per previous comments, I think most interesting is the possibility to maybe draft a higher-end player or two who are overpriced a bit, discount them down to a better salary and then collect a good return on them. From a Hurricanes standpoint, there continues to be a buzz around Dougie Hamilton. I am on record as believing it makes no sense to spend a selection on a player who could instead be signed as a free agent one week later. Given that the Hurricanes granted Hamilton the chance to talk to other teams, there is nothing to keep Seattle from hammering out a deal and signing it next week after selecting another Hurricanes player on Wednesday. One angle that could make sense is that by selecting Hamilton Seattle makes him feel more loved which is what makes him want to join the new team. Another angle is that by selecting him, Seattle would gain the ability to sign Hamilton to an eight-year deal whereas the maximum... read more

Searching for diamonds in the rough — Part 1 of 2

The discussion/comments for yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe on the expansion draft ‘breezy’ brought up the possibility of trading Jake Gardiner for Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen. The comment reminded me again of something I have kicked around a few times but have yet to dedicate an entire article to which is the possibility of finding underrated diamonds in the rough if you will on struggling teams. The Hurricanes have made quick progress in the Tom Dundon era with Rod Brind’Amour at the coaching help pushing into the playoffs in three consecutive years. And at least during the regular season, the team was in the upper echelon of the NHL in 2020-21. But the last step remaining to make a run at the Stanley Cup is the most challenging one. The team is now pushing up against the salary cap with young players scheduled to be re-signed for a higher cost which adds pressure in terms of time and also budget. No doubt Seth Jones would make the Hurricanes, or any team, better. But trying to win bidding wars for clearly high-end players is difficult and fraught with the peril of the winner’s curse. And even if the Hurricanes could win a big bidding war for a high-end free agent or trade option, it would be really difficult to make the salary cap math work. Somehow the team needs to find a way to make improvements at something less than market value. Enter today’s Daily Cup of Joe — Trying to find diamonds in the rough from downtrodden teams who with a change of scenery could find a higher gear. As... read more

The Seattle Kraken expansion draft from a Hurricanes’ perspective – round 2

On Sunday, the protected lists were officially announced for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft which will take place on Wednesday, July 21. The Hurricanes list looked mostly as expected with one minor surprise choosing to protect both Warren Foegele and Jesper Fast and in the process leave Nino Niederreiter unprotected. On defense, the Hurricanes chose to protect Brady Skjei and leave Jake Bean unprotected as I wrote about in Friday’s first article about the expansion draft.  And in goal, the Hurricanes protected Alex Nedeljkovic as expected. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe considers the team’s choices and ponders the likely outcome.   Why not protect Nino Niederreiter? The one minor surprise makes sense in my book. Yes, Niederreiter slots higher than Warren Foegele and Jesper Fast and was more productive on the score sheet in 2020-21, with the Hurricanes now a cap team, it is not about salary. It is about salary related to role. In that regard, the question is whether Niederreiter is worth $5.25 million or if that money could be better redeployed. On the one hand, his 20 goals in 56 games makes for a solid finisher with a 29-goal pace over 82 games. On the other hand, Niederreiter is a bit one-dimensional and has been inconsistent. Also behind the headline numbers but significant is considering where the Hurricanes are in their development as a team. With three straight playoff berths and a finish near the top of the standings in 2020-21, the team has reached a level of success and now faces the challenge of charting a course to a next level in the playoffs. In... read more

Handicapping the expansion draft for the Carolina Hurricanes

With the abbreviated lull following the Stanley Cup playoffs and preceding the true start of the oddly-timed off-season nearing its end, first up on the schedule is the expansion draft to build the Seattle Kraken roster. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks at it from the Hurricanes standpoint. The starting point is that Martin Necas and the team’s non-NHL prospects are exempt. Past that the team can protect either seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie or instead eight skaters total and a goalie. The team is also required to make a minimum number of players available at each position. Let’s look at it by position.   Goalie The Hurricanes can protect one goalie and must also make one available. Alex Nedeljkovic, whether re-signed or not by that time, will be the protected goalie. And newly-acquired Dylan Wells was seemingly acquired very specifically to meet the requirement of exposing one goalie either under contract or a restricted free agent. The other option would have been qualifying Jeremy Helvig who figures not to be qualified now. Whether it is Petr Mrazek or someone else, the Hurricanes will add their second NHL goalie after the smoke clears from the expansion draft.   Forwards The obvious names on the protected list will include Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, Teuvo Teravainen, Andrei Svechnikov and Vincent Trocheck. Martin Necas does not need to be protected nor does Brock McGinn or Jordan Martinook since both are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. Note also that the need to protect those five forwards eliminates the possibility of instead going with eight skaters to protect another defenseman. So... read more

Random thoughts on keep/replace for Canes unrestricted free agents

The past week or so of Daily Cup of Joe has stepped through the list of seven Canes players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents this off-season and considered individually whether each should be re-signed or replaced and under what terms contractually. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a set of random thoughts on that same topic. The starting point for all of these decisions is recognizing that the Hurricanes need to make moves to improve this off-season but will be somewhat limited budget-wise in doing so. The starting is also (in my opinion) that the team needs to bet on the current core for the most part, so aside from hopefully making gains from young players just continuing to grow, the transaction-driven improvements will need to come from lesser-cost players who mostly fit into the middle or bottom of the lineup. With that starting point, here are some thoughts that impact my keep or replace decisions for the list of unrestricted free agents.   Dougie Hamilton With Dougie Hamilton the burning question is what are you going to do to improve or even break even if you let him go? That is a tough question. The Hurricanes do not have the extra top 4-capable depth that the team had a few years ago, so letting Hamilton go requires back filling his slot with at least one other top 4 defenseman. With a thin market for such players in free agency this year, that is a challenging proposition. Don Waddell has been very adept at adding top 4 defensemen via trade. Hamilton himself arrived that way. The team was... read more

Most Recent Comments

  • ptblespaul: Sure hope Matt and all are well and that this site will start to move again now that the season is [...]
  • raleightj: 1. I don't have any problem with moving on from Mrazek or Reimer. Mrazek seemed to settle into [...]
  • breezy: ..we keep signing other teams" failed players, ... I see absolutely 0 sense in the Canes' [...]
  • raleightj: We actually don't have much in the way of homegrown talent anymore. We are down to two players who [...]
  • breezy: After a few days to think about it I think the Raanta signing was fantastic but the Anderson [...]

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Hot From Twitter!

July 30, 2021 at 2:20pm
ICYMI...Today's Daily Cup of Joe looks at goalie changeover for @Canes =>
July 30, 2021 at 12:59pm
@CaniacChic Figuring who to keep and how could be challenging in 3-4 years with bunch of higher-end players due for new contracts that will certainly be higher.
July 30, 2021 at 12:58pm
@BluesCanes Have half-written article on what phase 2 of Cup push looks like in 3-4 years.

Think it means keeping most of core at significant raises but also needs next wave of young players from massive draft hauls to step into roles in next 2-4 years.
July 30, 2021 at 12:56pm
@cbabcock8 Because salaries increase/change over time and players are in different positions when they sign them, Hamilton was going to get more. Question was just if Canes were willing to pay enough more which they were not.
July 30, 2021 at 10:03am
Daily Cup of Joe for Friday looks at goalie changeover for @Canes=>
July 29, 2021 at 11:35pm
BOTH of Slavin and Pesce combined make roughly the same as Werenski for next few years.

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