As the fortunes of the 2018-19 Carolina Hurricanes rise, so to do the fortunes of a number of players who will be up for new contracts next summer.
The organization moved early to sign Teuvo Teravainen to a five-year contract at $5.4 million per year and Jordan Martinook to a two-year contract at $2 million per year.
But that still leaves nine players on the current roster who will need to be re-signed or set free this summer.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes an early look at the group.
He will obviously be re-signed but increasingly the question is at what cost. Last summer, I suggested that the would (and should) act early to make a long-term commitment to Sebastian Aho. My best guess is that a fair contract would have been something in the $7-8 million range. Fast forward to today and Aho’s 90-point pace, and that number has most certainly risen. At this point I think a team-friendly deal would be $8-8.5 million per year. I think fair market value could now be $10 million. My wild guess is that Aho’s RFA status tamps down price a little, but that Aho’s next contract clocks in at $9-9.5 million.
The team seemed close to trading Ferland at one point, but then the term self-rental popped up referring to Ferland suggesting that he would stay. I am on record as not liking a long-term deal for Ferland because the shortness of his track record and to some degree his injury risk. Since being bumped off of Aho’s line, Ferland’s production as slowed a bit and he has also been laboring with an upper body injury. Might that pull down his market value? I think it could but only modestly. Term is uncertain, but I still think a team that desperately wants to add a capable top 6 forward forward will pay $5 million or more for Ferland for a couple too many years. I think it takes a discount off of that for Ferland to remain in a Hurricanes uniform for the 2019-20 season.
His deal will be an interesting one. Early in the season, I would have had Williams’ next contract as being more that of a depth player but with a captain premium added on. I would have figured that to be less than the $4.5 million that Williams is earning this year. Fast forward to today and his productive role on the team’s top scoring line and any age-related fall off in production looks to be in the future. I figure Williams signs for one or two years at a salary similar to or possibly slightly down from his current one. So something like $4 million seems about right.
Right now, I think Maenalanen is trying to play his way up into a one-way contract for the 2019-20, and I think there is a good chance that he has done so. He will not get term of a high salary, but I could see him getting a one or two year deal for something in the neighborhood of $1 million per year.
Though his goal scoring is down a bit, McGinn has generally had a solid season as a depth forward and has solidified his role at the NHL level. That should net him a modest raise likely on a two or three year deal. My best bet is that McGinn gets two years at $1.1 to $1.5 million per year.
As a player who has logged more AHL than NHL games in recent years, McKegg is trying to play his way into a one-way deal. Though I do not think it would be outlandish for McKegg to get a one-way deal, I doubt it happens. What I do think he gets is a very good two-way contract with a guaranteed minimum that factors in some NHL ice time.
Coming off his entry-level deal, Fleury this year would have been hoping to earn a modest raise and a one-way deal. With the low volume of NHL ice time that Fleury has logged this season, I think he likely gets another two-way contract.
McElhinney has earned every bit of his modest $850,000 in helping the team improve in net. The tough question is figuring out what makes sense for both him and the team. At 35 years old, McElhinney is not an option for a long time #1 goalie. But based on what he did in 2018-19, might he be a capable part of the netminding solution short-term? I could see re-signing McElhinney to a two-year deal at a modest raise to something like $1.3 to $2.0 million. That gives McElinney a chance to continue on his current path but does so in a way that leaves room for Alex Nedeljkovic or even possibly adding goalie help later if necessary.
He was ‘meh’ early in the year but has been surging of late. At only 27 years old and with prior starting experience, Mrazek is the more likely to take on a longer-term role with the Hurricanes. His current salary is only $1.5 million on a ‘prove it’ deal. Especially if he continues his latest trend, Mrazek would garner a raise for 2019-20. The burning question is just how much. Veteran 1A/1B types regularly earn $3 million-ish per year. I think something like that could be reasonable on a short two-year term though I could also see the amount landing a bit lower and/or the term pushing to three years. I would be thrilled to have Mrazek back for two years at $2.5 million per year. That at least fills one goalie slot and does so in a way that offers some future flexibility.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Of this list of nine impending free agents, which do you see not returning next season?
2) What do you expect for annual salary for Sebastian Aho’s next contract?
3) From the goalie group, which if either of Mrazek or McElhinney would you keep? What term would you be willing to offer one or both of them?
4) Do you agree with my estimated salaries for these players? Or are there players that you believe will price out differently?