Today’s Daily Cup of Joe steps briefly out of the present, fast forwards to next summer and takes a look at the Hurricanes contract situations.
In short, next summer (or earlier if things are addressed early) will be a busy one for making significant decisions in terms of player contracts.
No doubt the Hurricanes will explore options to swap Scott Darling and the remaining two years on his contract for another underperforming player with a similarly pricey contract. But the market for $4 million goalies who have performed at below NHL backup level is not a friendly one. As such, I will be shocked if Darling’s tenure as a Hurricane does not end with a buyout.
That still leaves what could be an interesting decision for the Hurrianes with regard to Petr Mrazek and Scott McElhinney. McElhinney has been very good so far. More recently with McElhinney out with an injury, Mrazek has recently found a higher gear. If the 2018-19 season continues on that trajectory, it makes for an interesting decision for the team in terms of keeping neither, one or both. My best guess is that the team keeps only one of the two and opens up a goalie slot to add another via trade or free agency. But if the current tandem performs well for the rest of 2018-19, it is possible that the team brings both back.
As a player who will be 36 years old when the 2019-20 season starts, McElhinney might be happy with a two-year deal at a modest raise to his $850,000 2018-19 salary. If that is the case, he could price out nicely where he actually fits as a backup.
At only 26 years old, the ceiling on Mrazek’s price if he has a strong 2018-19 campaign is much higher. If he proves capable of a starting role again, he could garner interest on the open market and be in line for more than $3 million per year on his next contract.
The possible outcomes are many here. If McElhinney or Mrazek falter, I think that player would be gone. I do not see the team bringing either back if they do not earn it. If both continue to play well, I think the preference would be to bring back the younger Mrazek to half of next year’s tandem, but the question is at what price.
Wild guess at how it ends: Darling is bought out. Mrazek, if he plays well for the rest of the 2018-19 season, is re-signed. McElhinney is turned loose unless Mrazek falters. If the Canes crash in 2018-19 and both goalies are part of it, I would not be surprised at all to see the team just wipe the slate clean and start over.
The only NHL defenseman up for a new contract next summer is Haydn Fleury. As long as he stays neatly tucked down in the third pairing and mostly off the score sheet, his next deal should be reasonably straightforward. He would earn a raise over his $863k entry-level contract, but the raise would be modest and not likely something that becomes complicated or contentious.
The big decision on the blue line (if it is not made much sooner) is what to do with Dougie Hamilton and Justin Faulk. Both players fill a similar role as a top 4 right shot defenseman with some offensive ability. Faulk’s contract is up after the 2019-20 season, so the team will want to make a long-term decision on him and act accordingly. I would be moderately surprised to see Faulk on the 2019-20 opening day lineup if he has not been extended and is instead entering the last year of his contract.
In September or October, I saw it as a foregone conclusion that Faulk would be dealt for forward help. While that continues to be a possibility, the combination of Hamilton’s struggles and Faulk’s stronger 2018-19 campaign thus far makes it possible that the team adjusts and instead deals Hamilton.
Wild guess at how it ends: I still think that Faulk ultimately gets traded, but with each passing day that Hamilton struggles in a Canes uniform, the probability increases that it is instead Hamilton who is dealt for forward help.
The forward position is where the greatest volume and drama lie with regard to re-signing players.
Sebastian Aho is due for a big contract that is potentially rising in price with each point he accumulates. Aho will get his money, and the team will be happy to lock him up long-term. Trickier though is Teuvo Teravainen. If he slips a bit in 2018-19 and puts up 60ish points, the range on his next deal becomes really wide. He would be in the vicinity of some players who net $8 million. But there would also be comparables down in the $6 million range too. I think ultimately the Canes keep Teravainen, but I think his contract negotiations could drag out a big.
Veteran additions from last summer Jordan Martinook and Micheal Ferland are also up for next contracts next summer. I would think the team would want to bring both back, but the price could make that path prohibitive. Martinook is a great fourth-line forward who can slot higher if needed. In that role and scoring at a high rate, he is a good value at his current $1.8 million. But if someone wants to pay him a bunch more, I think one has to pass. Ferland’s situation is similarly complicated. If gets back into the lineup and continues scoring at a mid-30s pace, he could command $6 million plus which is a big rise over his current $1.75 million.
Of the depth forwards, I think Phil Di Gisueppe is not re-signed and that Brock McGinn is.
That leaves captain Justin Williams. His recent scoring burst boosted his standing offensively, but he could well finish with a mid-40s depth scoring total. At that point, his $4.5 million current salary looks a bit pricey based on production. So then the question is how much the C on his jersey drives as a premium over value based on production.
Wild guess at how it ends: Aho is re-signed to a long-term deal in the $7-8 million range as long as he does not find a higher gear up push up near 100 points. McGinn stays and Di Giuseppe goes from the depth forwards. Teravainen’s next deal drags out the longest, but he is eventually re-signed. Williams takes a small pay cut on his next deal, and I think only one of Martinook and Ferlnad returns.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Which, if any, of the three goalies are still with the team for opening night in 2019-20?
2) Do you agree that the Hurricanes are one too many on the blue line and that one of them is traded? If so, who do you think is dealt?
3) What are price and term for Aho and Teravainen’s next deals? Do you think either drags out?
4) Which of Ferland and/or Martinook return? And what would you put for a maximum price for each?
One of Faulk or Hamilton definitely needs to go, but you almost have to wait for the goals to start coming for one of them so that their value is up. I’d trade any D except Slavin if it brings a forward who can score goals.
I’m not really sure Teravainen is worth $6 million. Aho will thrive with any linemates and raise their level of play. I don’t know if TT can thrive without Aho. I think the question will be whether the team wants to keep Ferland-Aho or Aho-TT together (with Dundon feeling that he can’t afford to give raises to all 3). I’d pick Ferland because he brings size and score first mentality.
I wonder if a team would be interested in a trade of a top-6 forward for something like Faulk-Teravainen?
Goalies: I think your assessment is correct. The one wild card is Andy Nedeljkovic. If he can shed his inconsistent ways and play big in the playoffs he may get a look. As he stands now he won’t be considered for much outside of backup duties.
Defense: You forgot the most important contract of all this summer, Adam Fox. The Canes have to clear room on the right side or lose Fox forever. Fox may still decide to stay in school, but in his Athletic interview a couple weeks ago he stated,”My goal is to get in the NHL as fast as possible.”
Forwards: As I’ve stated before, there is no way I pay Teravainen $6M. There are dozens of players in the NHL that could replace him at significantly less money. That money is better spent on Ferland who has a skill set much more difficult to find. When Williams signed here in Carolina he said it was his last contract. He does plan to retire here. If the Canes continue their “middling” ways I think he will be done. If they do make the playoffs I think he will return.
Good call on Fox. I have a half-written article on him and his interesting contract conversation that I hope to finish and post in the next couple days.
Again, we make plans as if we are dealing with robots, not human men. We have three NHL goalies. Two of these players are coming off contracts in which they are being paid peanuts. If they finish the season on a roll, we assume they will resign with us for modest raises and reasonable term lengths.
Are you delusional?
Today’s NHL is a desert which is barren of goalkeepers. Mac is not a fool. This summer will be his last chance at big money and some security. For Mrazek it will be his first.
Anyone who thinks one or both players won’t decide to test the waters of free agency is totally delusional.
Anyone who thinks we are dealing with separate little robots when we see Aho and Turbo ignores the facts of life. These two are as one on the ice. And off the ice? Do we believe that we can separate these two and negotiate with them while pretending that we have control? There are 30 other teams out there who would be willing to give these two whatever they want to sign a free agent contract.
Actually, there will soon be 31 other teams.
Ferland, Martinook, Phil di, McGinn. Expendable? Easy to replace? Faulk? Dougie? Let’s trade one of them. To whom? For whom? Do we really believe the bull that is being shoveled about our depth at defense? Please show me where that depth is.
Fleury? Let’s give him a raise and keep him? Why? He is the one free agent who would go unclaimed. We seem to be the only ones stupid enough to see potential there.
Fox? Do you think he is foolish enough to not cast his lot with free agency?
Wake up to the new NHL boys and girls. Joe Sakic and John Tavares should have taught us some lessons. William Nylander burst the delusion that holdouts always lose. Are we paying attention? Or will we insist upon relearning the hard lessons?
As the song says, “Use your mentality. Wake up to reality.”
pwrlss, as humans, there is a natural human desire to be wanted and to fell needed and to feel like you’re contributing and participating in something larger. A big part of work is waking up every day and enjoying the people you work with – hockey players aren’t immune to this. If someone likes it here – and many probably do – the default path is working something out and staying.
As for Sakic, he showed that patience worked (with Duchene). Is it possible that we’ve learned that lesson and are being patient and waiting for the best deal for one of our RHD? As for Tavares, who is our big franchise-UFA that we stand to lose this off-season?
As for Mac, maybe the workload + his age contributed to his recent injury and (what seems to be a lengthy recovery though I haven’t seen reported what his injury actually is). Is there any team out there that going to pay big money for him next year under those circumstances? Would we?
As for Mrazek, I could easily see a Carter Hutton type deal for him somewhere, or even an extra year in that general range. I do not see someone paying crazy money.
9 of the 23 players on our current roster weren’t full-time in Raleigh or weren’t even in our organization last year. There will be turnover again next season; it’s only a question of how that happens. We’re all speculating on that turnover and how we’d think about managing it. Reality is certainly going to turn out differently but part of the fun is speculating.
Goalies: the age thing gets in Mac’s way if it comes down to a choice between him and Mrazek for #1, but I think Mrazek is playing his way into a 3-yr deal just like he said he wanted to this past summer.
Defense: agree with lessthan on Fox. Someone needs to be traded to make room for him for when the college season ends. Again, buying low and selling high is the winning formula, so I have doubts that Hamilton will have held his value this soon after being traded from CGY; it’s more likely to be Pesce or Faulk.
Forwards: TT is under-appreciated and I don’t know why. Scoring 60+ points two years in a row is tough in this league and even tougher in CAR. Aho helps him, obviously, but it flows both ways. I see JW retiring more than playing another year. I also am watching how Martinook continues on the Aho/TT line: if they keep producing and he’s contributing he makes Ferland seem expensive by comparison, especially when he can play on any line and play C / take face-offs. In this scenario, it wouldn’t surprise me if Ferland is traded at the deadline for futures.
The other big question at Forward is Rask: maybe he is still injured or hasn’t fully recovered yet. He’s going to have 3-yrs left and will be very expensive for his production.
I certainly do not appreciate Teravainen enough to pay him $6M per. It’s not difficult to score 60 points playing with Aho. Just watch the game. Which player uses his skill and speed to beat other players and create scoring chances? Not Teravainen. I can’t remember the last time he actually beat another player. The guy wont even shoot in the slot. Yes, he goes to the right places on the ice and has good vision. That isn’t worth $6M. A similar player can be found in FA, or better yet replace him with Kuokkanen. Frees up money for a difference maker.
Given the team is on a steady, relentless path to be a draft lottery team for the 10th straight year many of the UFAs mentioned above may be gone at the trade deadline. Mrazek, McElhinney, Williams, Ferland and Martinook all will have allure to deadline buyers. This season may simply be one more for the rebuild.
Damn you with your facts and logic!
You may be absolutely correct, but I sure hope not.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves! 😀
1. I think it is a foregone conclusion that Darling will get bought out -even if he ended up getting brought up because of an injury and going on a tear, I don’t think there is enough trust to keep him. I don’t think Mac, at age 36, can be relied on as a starter but if the M&M duo offers reliable consistency, I can see both being brought back on 2- to 3-year terms.
2. If you factor in Bean – and his game is growing leaps and bounds in Charlotte – and add the desire to make space for Fox, we are probably a couple of NHL-grade D-men high. I think Faulk writes his own ticket and I don’t see him wanting to re-sign with the Canes. Why wouldn’t he want to move on? So I think he is the choice to package in a trade – recognizing we are getting close to a loaner with his term. But on the right we now have Pesce-Faulk-Hamilton-TvR-(Fox?)
But do you get a commitment from Fox first???
3. What Aho and Turbo get vs. what they deserve are two different things. If Nylander sets the bar for Aho then 6 years at 8.5. But we have a team owner who has repeatedly talked about how “we own” him, I am expecting a prolonged fight – nevermind the issue of how the contract will be structured for the 2020-21 season (whether a signing bonus or not – whether TD wants to pay him for not playing in the event of a lockout or whether Aho wants to be treated as the true #1 player on the team like others on other teams.
Fortunately Turbo has arbitration rights and I can see him choosing that route over being low-balled.
4. Martinook has been critical in the development of Svech so far and his gritty, occasionally offensive, play. He is a great guy in the locker room. He is worth keeping even at a premium. Other teams know what he brings.
Ferland will be interesting – does he have a Calgary swoon, or does he play strong through the course of the season. How much risk of a swoon gets factored into his contract. He is a valuable player on the wing of two skilled players. I would love to see us keep him, but would hate for us to overpay him.
Very good point about Teravainen. My money would be that is exactly what happens.
The Fox saga could be an interesting one. Is he being honest about wanting to be in the NHL as soon as possible? We know Vesey was less than truthful about his intentions.
Assuming Fox would be interested in playing in the NHL/Carolina next season, why would he commit until there was a spot for him to play? He holds the cards in that negotiation.
Interesting topic, but (for me) it’s too early to evaluate the majority of the team!
I’m not ready to decide what to do with more than half of the team.
Aho, Svechnikov, Slavin are locks, but the rest have to be pretty consistent to get to their level IMO!
I like several of the guys, but would trade them for the right return.
Dundon has been QUIET (publicly), but I think that he’d spend significantly for the RIGHT PLAYER! He’s a good businessman and keeps his cards close to the vest…! Unless the team gets hot and moves into SOLID playoff position, he probably will keep the wallet in his pocket! Minor changes, but not blockbusters.
TD hasn’t been that quiet. He did a public talk in the last week or so. Here is a link from the Triangle Business Journal summarizing it. (You have to be a subscriber) https://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2018/12/12/carolina-hurricanes-owner-dundon-talks-hockey.html
Some of the things he said are:
1. He hates losing a lot. Would be the reason he sells the team, not losing money.
2. He will never draft a defenseman in the first round as long as he is the owner. Says you can buy defensemen. (Dumb)
3. Wants a lot of improvements to the arena, or better yet a new arena downtown. (Haha. Is this guy for real, or just posturing for a reason to relocate when lease is up?)
4. Would rather lose 5-4 than 2-1 as it is more entertaining to him. (Agree as a fan, but as an owner/GM? Dumb. Winning is most important.)
Less than is right. The key to all of this is Tom Dundon. The owner pretty much does what he is willing to do in order to get what he wants.
Toronto’s owners are willing to spend money in order to go for the Cup. It would seem that they are meeting with success so far.
On the other extreme we have Ottawa’s owner, Mr. Melnick. The rebellion of the fans (defamatory billboards?), dissention among team members, desperation on the part of the GM, don’t seem to have an impact. What does Mr. Melnick want? He seems to want to sell the team.
That should come as no surprise to anyone. Owners of professional sports teams know that while they own the franchise it is common to break even or to lose money each year. The profit is made when they sell the team.
TD and Mr. K seem to agree on what they lose on owning the Canes. Their stated loss numbers are close. Of course neither man mentions the revenue sharing stipend which pretty much erases the loss. Mr. K said that going into the playoffs put the Canes in the black.
It is TD’s money at risk. So if he wants to be entertained by the team he owns, I say to him, mazel tov. If we would rather lose by a score of 5-4 than 2-1, I say that I agree. Smart as a fan, but also smart as an owner. Not dumb.
Back in the 80s, the owner of the team in Edmonton expressed the same preferences. It worked for him. Of course, he was not surprised that he had to spend a lot of money in order to achieve that goal.
Is Mr. Dundon that smart? Maybe. Do stupid men get rich? I don’t think so. But I could be wrong.
Mr. Dundon said that he wouldn’t select a d-man in the first round again. That’s the smartest thing I have heard from anyone in the Canes organization. Ever. Ever.
Why is that? Well d-men are different from forwards. Their job is more complex and challenging. It used to be conventional wisdom that a good d-man took years and years to mature into the job. I believe that is still true. How have we done with our first round d-man selections? Pronger, Johnson, Murphy, Fleury. We lost our shirts with all of them.
I think Tom Dundon’s ownership smarts will only begin to be proved this summer at the earliest.
He expressed an interest in a downtown arena. That makes him dumb? That makes him treacherous and trying to move the team out of the area?
Maybe he is aware that some big money is talking about a downtown major league sports complex. Behind it is a major league soccer franchise, and pro football money as well. Or was it pro baseball?
What is so dumb or treacherous about that?
“I also forgot Jake Bean. The jury is still out. But it doesn’t look good.” – You clearly haven’t watched him play in CLT nor heard the plaudits.
“Fleury hating? There is nobody who would trade an asset for him. Maybe some skates (used) and sticks (broken). But not players or draft picks.”
That’s just silly, mean and inaccurate. One on one he wouldn’t garnish much but as part of a trade package – yes. People know his value and what he has done; he is better than a number of other bottom pair RHD regardless of whether he finds himself FT in the NHL or bouncing between the NHL and the AHL in this or another organization. He has a much higher skill level than Cajkovsky who you seem to praise a lot (who I like for his effort but recognize as no more than an AHLer).
I rarely spend much time with your posts because I find they have little value in analysis or information but these two comments really tweaked me.
Self-correction, “[Fleury] is better than a number of other bottom pair LHD…”.
Oh! I forgot David Tanabe. He was another d-man first round selection. We lost our shirt on him.
I also forgot Jake Bean. The jury is still out. But it doesn’t look good. He and Fleury are included in our mythical defensive depth.
In GA/G, our mythical defensive depth has us #11 overall and #1 since Nov 1 – and Pesce has missed 9 games. I chalk up the difference to an awful PK to start the season.
Our defense is not so mythical to me.
It’s not the defense that is a myth. It’s the depth that is mythical.
I think any owner of a team that is in a small market and not making money must be eyeing Seattle, if not actively at least in fantasy land. I think there are a much higher profit possibilities in a city like Seattle than in Raleigh, North Carolina.
TD has no ties to NC and no particular reason to keep the team in Raleigh. He is first and foremost a business man and he has a reputation for being ruthless, so if he makes big money out of shifting the team he must be thinking about it, and from a business perspective I can’t blame him.
I’m not saying that he is, just that it is logical he would be considering the possibility.
I think the real question is whether he prefers to lose 5 to 4 or win 2 to 1.
But in order to win it all you must have a competitive team, having the lowest payroll in the NHL is unlikely to get you that team. So it is up to him to show his intensions over the summer.
I agree on his comment re the D men and first round. I’ve been disappointed in the D men fettish of RF where good forwards were available. I do not agree on the Fleury hating, I think the kid has played pretty well when given a chance as a third pairing defenseman, and I think he could be a trade asset to some team.
But I agree I would’ve rather taken Nylander.
Hannifin made sense, he was a top 3 concensus, but he didn’t make it in Carolina, and there were some good forwards drafted after him.
JB, I just don’t know, D men take time to mature, but D men from his draft are already doing well in the NHL and he is not, so his time to prove himself as an NHL asset is now, or next season at the latest.
I think the goalie duo will be resigned if the tersm are agreeable, 2.5 mill for Mrazek, 1.1 for Mac would be good, 3 for
I think TT negotiations will turn ugly. TTD’s real intent with Carolina will be on full display in the Aho resigning, if it drags and drags my skeptisism will increase.
The RHD depth must be utilized in some way, like in a trade for forward, we all agree on that, we just don’t know which particular D and we don’t know if the Fox will make his den in Raleigh.
I think ferland and Martinook will be resigned.
Not sure what JW will do but think it likely he retires if the canes do not make it, or may agree to another short-term contract if he is excited about next year (e.g. if the canes draft well and guys like Necas come up and impress in the spring).
That’s another I forgot. Hanifin. At least we got something for him.
What RHD depth?
Fleury hating? I don’t hate the guy. I just believe that he doesn’t belong in the NHL. He certainly is not a part of our mythical depth. There is nobody who would trade an asset for him. Maybe some skates (used) and sticks (broken). But not players or draft picks.