If you have been away from Canes hockey for 4-5 days for a long weekend, you missed quite a bit. No, the blockbuster trade for top 6 forward did not materialize, but it was still a newsworthy weekend with a trade for Trevor van Riemsdyk on Thursday and eight new prospects added to the organization via the NHL draft on Friday and Saturday.
And finally, I continue to stand by my Saturday morning mini-novel for being as good of an explanation of the current trade situation as any.
And that catches up on the whirlwind weekend. But the week ahead should be just as busy.
NHL transaction deadlines
Monday is the deadline for qualifying offers
Monday at 5pm is the deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers to their restricted free agents to retain their negotiating rights into the summer. The Hurricanes have a couple players for which the offer will be a formality, namely Brock McGinn and Phil Di Giuseppe. The team also has some decisions to make. Andrej Nestrasil who had a tough year coming off of his February 2016 back injury could be shown the door after grumbling in Czech newspapers. With two young goalies already slated for the AHL, the Hurricanes will need to decide if Daniel Altshuller gets the third slot or if instead, the team wants to cut Altshuller loose and add a veteran.
My best guess: I think Hurricanes will part ways with Andrej Nestrasil. I have no idea on Altshuller and will not be surprised either way. That said, if Francis did not intend to qualify one or both players, he could seemingly have traded one or both during the draft weekend for “future considerations” though I am not sure there would be much of a market for either player.
Friday is the deadline for buyouts
Friday is the deadline for teams to buy players out. The big decision here is Eddie Lack. I think ideally Francis would like to unload a goalie (and I think it is Lack) in a trade, but with no guarantee of that happening, there is a decision point on Friday.
My best guess: I am on record dating back to my April 20 article entitled, “5 Carolina Hurricanes predictions for the offseason” as saying that Lack would not return. (This was even before the Scott Darling trade.) I stand by that prediction, and I think he either gets moved in a trade this week (low probability) or otherwise is bought out before the end of the week.
Friday is also the deadline for unrestricted free agents hit the open market
Derek Ryan, Jay McClement and Matt Tennyson are all scheduled to become free agents on July 1. They actually have the ability to negotiate with other teams this week anyway, so they are unofficially on the open market already. The Hurricanes also have AHL players who are unrestricted free agents.
My best guess: I think McClement’s run in a Hurricanes uniform will end, as the team looks to go younger and likely seek a bit more offense from that slot. I also think that the trade for Trevor van Riemsdyk all but assures the departure of Matt Tennyson. That leaves Derek Ryan. My take is that he is a good depth player. Ideally, Francis would love to sign Ryan to a two-way deal in case he does not stick at the NHL, but I think Francis might ultimately stretch a little and offer a one-way deal to keep him in the fold.
Saturday starts the free agent frenzy
Saturday starts the free agent frenzy. I will look at individual players later in the week, but at a basic level, the start of free agency opens up another set of options if Francis continues to be unable to land what he wants in the trade.
My best guess: I do think the Hurricanes will add a free agent, but the player might end up being a depth forward not the top 6 scoring forward that is desired.
The Carolina Hurricanes prospect camp
And scheduled right over the top of all of the transaction deadline dates is the Hurricanes prospect camp which starts on Tuesday and culminates Saturday with a fan fest and scrimmage.
My wild guesses for what happens this week
Restricted free agents: I think Francis does not qualify Nestrasil but does qualify and keep Altshuller.
Unrestricted free agents: I think McClement and Tennyson depart but that Ryan is re-signed.
Buyouts: I thin Lack is bought out this week.