Last summer when the Hurricanes traded away Jeff Skinner for futures and did not make any big salary additions via free agency or trade, many were grumbling that Tom Dundon and the new management/ownership regime were cheap. A simple look at the salary rankings shows the Hurricanes dead last in the NHL for 2018-19 could be evidence that the grumbling was justified. But if one looks forward to 2019-20 and beyond, the Hurricanes spending on salary is set to grow significantly just keeping the players already in the organization.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes an early look at the Carolina Hurricanes 2019-20 salary situation.
2018-19 Carolina Hurricanes salary
Right now, CapFriendly shows the Hurricanes with a $63.4 million cap hit against a $79.5 million salary cap ceiling. It is the size of this gap that had fans grumbling that the team should spend more.
2019-20 Carolina Hurricanes Salary
But that number will grow significantly for the 2019-20 season.
Current contract continues into 2019-20 ($40.4 million for 11 players)
4 Forwards: Nino Niederreiter, Andrei Svechnikov, Warren Foegele, Lucas Wallmark.
6 Defensemen: Dougie Hamilton, Jaccob Slavin, Justin Faulk, Brett Pesce, Calvin de Haan, Trevor van Riemsdyk.
The blue line is already under contract except for Haydn Fleury who is a restricted free agent.
Returning players on new contracts ($15.4 million for 3 players)
3 Forwards: Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Jordan Martinook.
The wild card here is Sebastian Aho. I put him in the budget for $8 million yearly for his new contract. Based on his current scoring pace, I think that number is more likely to be low than high.
Buyouts ($3.7 million for 0 players on current roster)
Alexander Semin, Scott Darling.
Certainly, the Hurricanes would explore possibilities to include Scott Darling and his contract in a broader deal, but in the likely event that is not possible, I fully expect the Hurricanes to buy out Scott Darling this summer.
Free agents who must be re-signed ($7.5 million for 5 players)
4 Forwards: Justin Williams, Saku Maenalanen, Brock McGinn, Greg McKegg.
1 Defenseman: Haydn Fleury.
None of the players on this list would garner a huge raise which is what usually makes these second tier players relatively low risk for being re-signed. Justin Williams is an unrestricted free agent, but I would expect him back on a short-term deal.
The starting point for building out the 2019-20 Carolina Hurricanes roster (18 players at $67 million)
To have a full roster of 22 that allows one healthy scratch for each position shows the Hurricanes at $67 million for 22 players.
Budgeting for the open slots
Not counting Scott Darling’s likely buyout which is factored in above, the Hurricanes still need to add four players. The cheapest outcome within reason is probably adding a $3 million-ish goalie and then also adding a proven backup at roughly $1.5 million per year. If one then assumes that the team back fills the forward roster spots with inexpensive players from within or an inexpensive free agent, the total is $6.5 million per year. That assumes that the Hurricanes do not try to re-sign Ferland or add another medium to higher priced forward.
Total salary $73.5 million.
So without really adding anyone from outside, the Hurricanes are up to $73.5 million. The 2018-18 salary cap ceiling is $79.5, so the Hurricanes will likely have a gap of $6 million plus likely another $2 million or so if the salary cap increases again. The result is that the current version of the Hurricanes roster leaves about $6-8 million to add more players. That $6-8 million should net the Hurricanes another forward or two if the right deal comes along but also could be kept on reserve for when Svechnikov needs to be re-signed. Remember that that number assumes Aho re-signs at only $8 million per year.
So when one nets it out, the Hurricanes do have cap space for 2019-20, but it is not nearly as much as 2018-19 numbers would indicate.
What say you Canes fans?
1) How much do you think Sebastian Aho will get/should get in his next contract?
2) If you had only $4-6 million to add one higher-end forward next summer, would you spend it on Micheal Ferland? If not, who would you target?
3) What other thought s do you have on the Carolina Hurricanes 2019-20 salary cap situation?