With the lion’s share of the free agent signings completed, today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a few minutes to look at how the Hurricanes did with their modest play in free agency and makes a short list of ‘deals I would steal.’
The Hurricanes big move was to re-sign Petr Mrazek. That deal was a very good one based on comparables. The Islanders committed four years at $5 million per year to Semyon Varlamov, and the Blackhawks paid $5 million for one year for Robin Lehner. Those were the other two goalies in the same category as Mrazek, so signing Mrazek for two years at only $3.125 million per year was a nice discount in my opinion.
Deals I would steal
History shows that the winners of the biggest free agent bidding wars more often than not become the biggest losers later. In a open market bidding situation where there is not enough supply to match the demand, basic economics says that there is a significant risk of overpayment. So in general, I am fine with the Hurricanes mostly sitting out the July 1 frenzy. But every year there are a couple deals that I would gladly steal if given the opportunity. Important to note is that many of these deals would not have been available to the Hurricanes, so this is not to say that the team passed on these opportunities.
Joe Pavelski (3 years at $7 million per year)
Pavelski clearly fits as a deal that would never have been available to the Hurricanes. Pavelski only considered a handful of teams supposedly all in the Western Conference. So realistic availability aside, I would take this contract in a heartbeat. Though I might prefer a shorter two years, $7 million per year is not a bad risk and term for a player who oozes leadership, could be a proven catalyst for a second scoring line and would add a much-needed right shot for face-offs and the power play.
Cam Talbot (1 year at $2.75 million)
The Hurricanes got their man in Petr Mrazek, but I would have liked Talbot’s deal as a plan B. At only one year. the risk is virtually non-existent, and the $2.75 million ‘prove it’ salary is a bargain for a starter. Talbot did not have a good 2018-19 season, but for one year my money says that he was more of a victim than a perpetrator in the mess that has been the Edmonton Oilers the past couple years.
Others 2019 NHL free agent signings that are tempting
In addition to the two deals above that I would take, a couple other are tempting enough that I would consider them.
Matt Duchene (7 years at $8 million per year)
Like Pavelski, Matt Duchene is another player who is a strong fit for the Hurricanes need for a catalyst for a second scoring line. His $8 million salary is high but not outlandish. The seven-year term is what gives me pause and pushes this deal down to being only tempting. Also worth noting is that like Pavelski’s deal this is not one that would have been available to the Hurricanes.
Wayne Simmonds (1 year at $5 million)
At 30 years old and with some tough mileage given his rugged style of play, Wayne Simmonds is not the type of player that I would sign long-term at this stage of his career. Further his scoring decline over the past two seasons adds an element of risk. But with Ferland’s departure, I think the Hurricanes lineup could benefit from adding a physical warrior type element. At $5 million, the salary is fairly high, but at one year the risk is low. I go back and forth on whether the $5 million is just to high for a player who needs to rebound to be worth that much.
Tomas Jurco (1 year at $700,000)
After a strong showing with the Charlotte Checkers, Tomas Jurco played his way back up to receiving another chance at the NHL level after a significant injury setback the year before. The price is a fair one, but I just question whether the Hurricanes need more deep center depth with Lucas Wallmark set at the bottom of the Canes’ center depth chart.
Micheal Ferland (4 years at $3.5 million per year)
Micheal Ferland was addressed in more detail in yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe. Even acknowledging some injury risk, I think the $3.5 million salary is fair. My hesitation in the four-year term.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Do you agree or disagree with the deals I would steal?
2) Would you also consider any of the signings that I labeled as tempting?
3) What other deals, if any, would you steal if given the opportunity?