Deals I would steal

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...
Carolina Hurricanes sign free agent forward Jesper Fast

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

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

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...
A deeper dive on slotting the Carolina Hurricanes’ forward group

A deeper dive on slotting the Carolina Hurricanes’ forward group

After a busy day, my start writing for Thursday’s Daily Cup of Joe was too late to do anything substantive on the draft. I will get to that in the days ahead. If anyone has comments or wants to discuss anything about the draft, feel free to also do that in the comments today.   Well-timed with news from the deadline to qualify restricted free agents on Wednesday, today’s Daily Cup of Joe works on building out the bottom of the Hurricanes forward group including depth. I am on record as saying that the single biggest difference-maker that the Hurricanes could add would be an offensive catalyst in the form of a second line center. Such a player would be in place of Vincent Trocheck. Second to that, the Hurricanes could use another finisher at wing though must be careful with salary cap budget for that slot. But as of right now, I group the Hurricanes forwards as follows:   Bona fide first or second line — Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Andrei Svechnikov Whether playing together on a top-heavy first line or split among the top two lines, this trio is a great starting point of young, capable offensive players.   Need to play and importantly produce at second line level to fit — Vincent Trocheck, Ryan Dzingel, Nino Niederreiter, Martin Necas Below the big three are three players who ideally need to be a big part of the solution to being two lines deep offensively. In his defense, Vincent Trocheck had an odd start as a Hurricane with two short stints separated by a four-month layoff. He had...