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Recent Carolina Hurricanes News

Where has all the forward depth gone?

Over the past few years, the Carolina Hurricanes have become a prospect pool darling for those who rate prospects and the NHL draft. The Hurricanes have young forwards Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas already at the NHL level. Sebastian Aho is still young in his own right. And the team has its next batch of forwards from the past couple well-rated drafts on the way. Based on that, one might assume that the Hurricanes are deep at forward. While that could well prove to be true out a couple years, the team is actually pretty light on NHL-ready forward depth right now.   The 2019-20 exodus Morgan Geekie pushed up to the NHL level and stuck, but at the same time the team mostly cleared out the group of players on the brink of the NHL during the 2020-21. Nicolas Roy was dealt before the season started. Fringe NHLers Phil Di Giuseppe and Greg McKegg left via free agency as did veteran AHLers Patrick Brown, Tomas Jurco and Andrew Poturalski. Then midway through the 2019-20 season, the Hurricanes dealt away more potential depth in Julien Gauthier, Janne Kuokkanen, Eetu Luostarinen and Lucas Wallmark. Some turnover especially with the older AHLers whose ceiling is that of deep NHL depth is the norm, but in losing so many players, the Hurricanes are actually a bit short on ready depth until the next wave of prospects develops over the next couple years.   What is left? This situation is why adding Jesper Fast or someone else was actually more of a need than a nice to have. With Fast added and Justin... read more

The case for Marc-Andre Fleury and more generally trying to creatively find a real difference-maker

Now four days into the NHL free agency period, the picture for teams’ rosters is gradually becoming clearer. In addition, the list of available options who could yield a difference-maker is gradually shrinking. The past day and a half has seen high-end scoring forward Taylor Hall and top defenseman Alex Pietrangelo come off the board. The goalie market has also shrunk considerably with Braden Holtby, Jacob Markstrom, Henrik Lundqvist, Cam Talbot, Anton Khudobin, Corey Crawford, Matt Murray and Thomas Greiss coming off the board. As far as the Hurricanes go, the Pietrangelo deal and the goalie market in general could be relevant  — IF the Hurricanes have an interest in Marc-Andre Fleury.   Seeking difference-makers When a team reaches the point where it is in the top half of the NHL and likely even if not certain to make the playoffs, improving becomes more difficult. Whereas it could have been possibly to fairly easily upgrade 8-10 slots on the Hurricanes teams from 5-6 years ago, that is no longer the case anymore. And trying to improve via outside help becomes even more difficult with salary cap constraints.   2020 Tampa Bay Lightning Some might argue that the 2020 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning won the Cup by virtue of the talent that they have had in the lineup for multiple years now. No doubt that played a leading role in the championship. But after being de-pantsed by the Columbus Blue Jackets in four games in the 2019 NHL Playoffs, the Lightning a concerted effort to become tougher to play against in adding Patrick Maroon, Blake Coleman and Barclay... read more

Deals I would steal

The annual NHL free agent frenzy kicked off on Friday. Though the frenzy was slightly more subdued than some years, there were still a ton of free agent signings over the weekend. The Hurricanes made a small splash signing former Rangers right wing Jesper Fast. I wrote about the addition HERE. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe sorts through the numerous signings and makes a fairly short list of deals I would steal with a couple important disclaimers. First, many of the deals identified were cases where players took significant discounts to pick their destination, so these deals would not likely have actually been available to the Hurricanes. Also, my list of steals does not consider the salary cap. The Hurricanes have only a couple million available right now, so many of these deals would require additional financial maneuvering. Without further ado, the deals I like are: Henrik Lundqvist I am on record as liking the idea of upgrading in net as long as the term and salary are reasonable. At only $1.5 million per year, I would have been willing to place a low risk bet that Lundqvist could have a last second wind energized by a new team and with a better defense in front of him. I was figuring something like $3 million for one year, so $1.5 million is even better. But this is very clearly one of the deals where the player chose his destination, and it was not based on money.   Patrick Maroon Another of the discounted deals was Patrick Maroon who re-signed with the Lightning for two years at a mere $900,000... read more

Carolina Hurricanes sign free agent forward Jesper Fast

On Saturday, it was announced that the Hurricanes had signed right wing Jesper Fast to a three-year contract for $2 million per year. Below are my initial thoughts on the addition.   At the top level At the most basic level, Jesper Fast is a good hockey player and also unmistakably a positive add in terms of the locker room. At a salary of $2 million per year, Fast represents a quality depth addition. His scoring is not such that he dramatically changes the Hurricanes, but Fast adds quality depth that makes a difference when trying to ice a balanced, competitive lineup.   Jesper Fast Fast was an assistant captain, leader and positive influence for the Rangers. He is a strong defensive forward capable of playing against other teams’ best players and also playing on the penalty kill. Fast has scored between 20 and 30 points in each of the last five seasons, so he is not so much a scoring spark as the addition of more depth scoring. Because of that, he ideally slots more as a third line forward, but he skates well enough and is sound defensively which means he is not out of place in the top 6 when lines get shuffled or injuries make it necessary. Fast also fills a few needs. He adds a right shot and true right wing. The Hurricanes have regularly had to use players like Foegele and McGinn on the right side to balance the lineup. Though his skill set is different, he adds a right shot to replace Justin Williams. He also skates well and should fit well... read more

Open forum for discussion/debate on the start of free agency

At least until the Hurricanes make a move, this post can serve as The Coffee Shop for debate related to the start of free agency on Friday?   1) Who, if anyone, do you think the Hurricanes should pursue in the free agent market?   2) With limited cap space, do you think the Hurricanes will make a move (or more)?   Go... read more

Did the Carolina Hurricanes squander the team’s financial advantage?

With what could be a salary cap-limited and more subdued start to free agency starting at noon on Friday, I will at least put up placeholder in general and a more specific post for discussion if the Hurricanes do any deals.   Pre-Dundon For much of a decade, the Carolina Hurricanes had an internal budget that was $15 to $20 million below the NHL’s salary cap ceiling. During most of that time, that budget capacity was off limits and something that could be used as an advantage. The potential to gain an advantage over the league seemed to build mostly just prior to the ownership transition when the signed key players Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce and Teuvo Teravainen to contracts below market rates. Though Sebastian Aho’s contract was maybe not as favorable especially with its front-loaded structure, the average salary was reasonable at $8.5 million.   Growing into the cap ceiling At the point when Tom Dundon bought the team, there was untapped potential to leverage favorable financials to gain an advantage on the rest of the league. And for as frugal as Dundon has been with the AHL, staff and even broadcasters, he has opened his wallet to spend on player personnel. A small but striking example of how things have changed was when the Hurricanes took on Patrick Marleau’s contract to buy him out basically paying cash to buy a first-round draft pick from the Maple Leafs. Along the way the Hurricanes have meandered their way up into the range of most of the NHL teams that are cap-constrained mostly on a yearly basis. Earlier this week... read more

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Hot From Twitter!

November 20, 2020 at 9:04pm
Hope that everyone in the Caniac Nation whether I know you personally or not is doing well, and I greatly look forward to the day when we reunite at @PNCArena for @Canes hockey hopefully with a full building sooner rather than later.
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November 20, 2020 at 9:01pm
Overall I'm very thankful to be minimally impacted by COVID, but sometimes I'd pay anything to go to @Canes game with family/friends.

Part of that is simply my love of hockey, but I think more so @Canes for me is just an integral part of normalcy I desperately crave right now.
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November 13, 2020 at 9:34pm
Good read on @Canes 2020 draft class.

Steve is 1 of the few who grades players primarily by watching them not just summarizing others' rankings. https://t.co/1dEETkcM9w
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November 2, 2020 at 4:30pm
I feel like this was the story of the 2nd half of Cam Ward's career with @Canes.

Ward regularly talked about 'staying loose', 'just having fun' or whatever, but I think he often lost that mental battle and tried harder. When he did, he played tight and struggled for stretches. https://t.co/MXCWvhEFCd
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October 30, 2020 at 11:37am
2/2 At least so far it is fairly easy to win bidding wars for these fringe goalies by offering a 1-way contract that trumps traditional 2-way contracts.

Cash-wise it costs more, but there is no real salary cap hit for the extra $500k if goalie plays at AHL level.
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October 30, 2020 at 11:36am
1/2 Leafs exploit salary cap loophole that can bury sub-$1M NHL contracts at AHL level without a cap hit to basically build goalie group that goes 4 deep with NHL experience with no real cap hit for #3 and #4 goalies assuming they land in AHL. https://t.co/DpjRw8Uhp2
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