If you have not read it already, check out also Brandon Stanley’s latest Charlotte Checkers’ players assessments for Roland McKeown, Alex Nedeljkovic and Martin Necas.


Today’s Daily Cup of Joe catches up on a couple transactions and another potentially newsworthy event.


Anton Forsberg arbitration ruling

On Tuesday, the arbitration ruling came down for goalie Anton Forsberg. The team offered a two-way contract, but Forsberg’s camp won big time with a one-year, one-way contract for $775,000. The amount of money is manageable, but the result is still a negative for the team. As a player who slots fourth on the goalie depth chart and almost certainly destined for the AHL, the team will now be out an additional $700,000-ish compared to an AHL salary if he spends the entire season in the AHL.

The situation is unfortunate, but I doubt there is much that the Hurricanes could have done to avoid it. The Hurricanes were not going to offer a one-way contract or any kind of sizable middle ground with a high AHL guarantee. And on Forsberg’s side, it completely makes sense to roll the dice on the randomness of arbitration rulings hoping to win. And they did. So while the situation is unfortunate, it likely was also unavoidable.

The result is yet another poster child for the sometimes randomness of the arbitration process and how it can be out of touch with what makes sense. I do not doubt that there is some kind of logical case for the ruling. The arbitrators are professionals at considering comparables and other data to arrive at a ‘fair’ salary. But the ruling misses the boat on the reality of Forsberg’s market value and situation. As a player who did not play at the NHL level in 2018-19 and struggled the last time he did in 2017-18, Forsberg would not have received a one-way contract from any other team had he been an unrestricted free agent. So sticking the Hurricanes with a one-way contract makes no sense. Further, the waivers process is appropriately put in place to handle situations like this. If another team was willing to utilize Forsberg at the NHL level, that team could claim Forsberg off of waivers at the start of the season.

In terms of what this means going forward, I do not think it significantly changes the Hurricanes goalie situation. I still like Forsberg as a good option for depth at a critical position, but if given the choice I would pass on paying a $775,000 salary for this depth. Put another way, I think the Hurricanes would now be happy to trade Forsberg if given the opportunity. But as a said above, Forsberg does not enter the 2019-20 season as a goalie likely to win an NHL slot to start the season, so I would be surprised if the Canes can unload him. Instead, I think the Hurricanes just added $700,000-ish to their cost structure for the 2019-20 season.


Trevor Carrick traded for defenseman Kyle Wood

Also this week, the Hurricanes announced that the team had traded veteran AHL defenseman Trevor Carrick for defenseman Kyle Wood.

I said the following about the deal on Twitter shortly after it was announced:

My assessment of Trevor Carrick is that he is a good AHL defenseman but just not a regular NHLer. But for players who have done the work to play their way up to the top of the AHL level, I really think they at least deserve a chance at the NHL level. In an organization with a deep depth chart on the blue line and that has seemingly also decided he is not an NHLer at least with the Hurricanes, Carrick was never going to get that chance. The situation is not such that San Jose is a rebuilding organization where Carrick will automatically push up onto the NHL roster, but I still think he is better off with a change of scenery. For a mid-round draft pick who earned his way to the top of the AHL level, good for him, and I hope he gets his chance.

The return is a good one at least in terms of needs/fit. Kyle Wood is similarly an experienced AHL defenseman, so he roughly fills the slot departed by Carrick. As a right shot, Wood also balances the blue line better with the team having an overstock of left shot defensemen.

It will partly depend on what Carrick’s salary is (he is unsigned), but this move will likely prove to be another round of modest cost-cutting at the AHL level. Wood will earn a modest $70,000. My wild guess is that Carrick will net a bit of a veteran premium over that.

The big question for me is if Wood fits into the leadership structure for the Checkers. The team has lost a number of veteran players over the past couple years. Wood wore an ‘A’ in the San Jose organization, so it is possible that he takes a leadership role with the Checkers. Regardless, the team will need to start anew in terms of leadership with the departure of captain Patrick Brown, alternate captain Trevor Carrick and also other veteran players.


Slighted again by the national television schedule

As has been the case for a decade now (actually longer), the Hurricanes were mostly overlooked when NBC put together its national broadcast schedule. The Hurricanes have only one game on the schedule in March.

With Tom Dundon’s purchase of the team a year and a half ago, Canes fans no longer have to go through the ‘is the team moving?’ rite of passage that was an August staple for many years. But the ‘why didn’t we get more national games?’ rite of passage pushes forward stronger than ever. With a decade of playoff misses, fans could hardly fault NBC for mostly passing on Canes games. But with the run to the Eastern Conference Finals, many fans seemed to expect more inclusion on national television. But I think that expectation misses how national NHL coverage works. Games are not rewarded at all based on merit. Games are awarded based on audience size and the TV business. The Canes playoff run changed very little in terms of NHL television demographics. The big markets still represent larger audiences in the match up cities but maybe equally importantly claim a higher viewer share across the United States. So the national television appearances are not a function of merit but rather NBC’s business model for its NHL coverage.


What say you Canes fans?


1) What are your thoughts on Anton Forsberg’s arbitration hearing? Do you think his one-way contract in any way affects the depth chart or usage for the Carolina Hurricanes goalies?


2) What are your thoughts on the Trevor Carrick trade? Does anyone have enough insight into the Checkers to have a hunch for what they do leadership-wise for the 2019-20 season?


3) Does the lone national television appearance bother you?


Go Canes!


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