With free agency opening in time for lunch break on Wednesday, today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers quick thoughts on most of the names being bandied about right now.
Part 2 which covers many of the forward options (ran out of time before getting to a few) is HERE.
For me, it’s like this.
First and foremost, the Canes need to add a steady and sound top 4 defenseman to get the defense back to being a strength. That is going to be difficult and possibly require taking on risk because of the limited options.
Second, pour most of the rest of the budget into building a bona fide second scoring line. With Trocheck, a single higher-end wing might do it. Without Trocheck, the Canes need at least two players here.
Third, use whatever budget is left to opportunistically add bargain-priced scoring depth at forward and fill out the blue line depth.
In a nutshell, I am looking for three key parts which will be challenging RD2, C2, LW2 or RW2.
This market is about as challenging as the goalie market. I am on record as thinking that Jakob Chychrun is a price worth paying heavily for. Past that, creativity trading for a player not known to be available would be great here. After that, finding a winner could require tremendous work by the scouting team to pick a winner from a bunch of options that come with significant risk in the form of contract and/or cost.
Still sticking with him as my top trade target per previous yammering.
If forced to pick only for next year, ignoring contract and age risk, I would put Klingberg below only Chychrun and would be very happy to get him. But he is 30 years old and was asking Dallas for a 7-year contract in the neighborhood of $7 million per year. As much as I do think the Canes need to go for it and likely take on some risk to do so, that is just too much in my opinion. I would actually feel more comfortable paying him max dollars for two years ($8 million), but he will not take that.
Not really sure how people see him as an option. From watching him in 2021-22, I think the 37-year old version of him is limited to being a good third pairing power play specialist. His remaining contract is 3 years at $8 million per year. Even if San Jose picked up half his salary, I would pass at $4 million per year. It is too much for what he brings, and that third year is a key year when Canes must re-sign or replace Aho, Teravainen, Pesce, Skjei and Jarvis.
He is the one where I defer to the scouts. He had a horrible start to 2021-22 which could have suggested he was done but then did rebound a bit. But still three years (see above why 3 years is significantly tougher to take than 2 given Canes situation) at $6.25 million is a huge, risky bet. But the good version of Petry from as recently as 2020-21 would work.
He is a newer entry to the rumors and rumblings. If the Panthers are trying to free up cap space to re-sign Giroux, I guess he (and others) come into play. I would peg him as a little bit light in terms of the ‘solid and steady’ that I ideally want in the top 4, but he put up a respectable 40 points last year and did play in the top 4 on the NHL’s best team in the regular season. And another HUGE factor is that his salary at $3.25 million for only one year is light years less risky than many of the other options. He would be an unrestricted free agent next summer, but you bring him in with modest risk and get either an exit ramp or the chance to re-up next summer depending on how it goes.
Ironically, a team that figures to struggle defensively seems maybe willing to trade its best defender. At 25 years old and signed for $6.75 million per year for three years, that is a bit high but not horrible for a bona fide top 4 defenseman. The question is if Provorov is maybe not quite that on a good team. I lean toward passing even if he is available, but he could be one for the scouting team to do the difficult assessment and decide if he is a diamond in the rough.
I threw this one out there on Twitter asking if people would consider him if the Blackhawks retained half of his salary (making his cap hit $4.75 million) and was surprised that the vote split about 50/50. I get that a bunch of his luster wore off last year, but he is a proven right shot top 4 defenseman who is only 27 years old. No doubt there is risk in the 8-year contract, but I still think $4.75 million is a bargain. That said, this is likely just a thought experiment. It would not make sense for the Blackhawks to retain that much salary because it would stretch past the couple years allocated to rebuilding. But then the Blackhawks have done some wacky things already this off-season, so it does not hurt to ask.
Fresh up a Stanley Cup win, Manson figures to become a free agent on Wednesday. I peg him as more of a depth defenseman who fits only for a price that makes the rest of the math work.
Maybe he slotted higher at times on a Leafs team that has been struggling to cobble together a blue line when all of their budget is spent on high-end forwards, but I view him as more of a great #5 defenseman on a good blue line. His price is right at $2 million for a depth role, so maybe if the Canes cannot land what they really want and instead try to go the route of adding multiple lower cost options hoping one works (sort of like 2021-22 which had mixed results), he could fit in that scenario. But I would not be ponying up Necas or similar and counting him as a bona fide top 4.
If St. Louis does not re-sign him, he will become a free agent on Wednesday. He had a decent run on the top 4 with the Islanders. Not sure I have a great read on what he brings two teams later at 31 years old.
I like him instead of Brent Burns but importantly NOT as the top 4 D that is a priority but rather as a third pairing power pay specialist and ONLY if the deal includes a third team (Edmonton would not do it) eating half of his salary to put his cost at $2.25 million. For that price, he is a good replacement for what DeAngelo did well.
Coming off a $9 million per year contract but now 34 years old, I have no idea where Subban’s salary lands for his next contract. I would not consider him for the top 4 slot at a salary appropriate for that role, but would consider paying a premium price above a normal third pairing salary. In that scenario, you put him in the #5 slot and on the power play and hope he can still play at a higher level than that. This requires him taking one of those discounted veteran contracts hoping to win a Cup, so the chances are low.
For the bottom three defenseman (third pairing and one extra), I figure the Canes have Jalen Chatfield and a slot for a power play point that is currently filled by Jake Gardiner. That leaves one more slot ideally for a $1M-ish defenseman. Fleury could fit there but as a left shot more so if the Canes parted ways with Gardiner and added a right shot offensive defenseman (i.e. Barrie). After being let go by three teams in less than two years, the combination of being a bit hungry and returning to a place that is familiar could be a decent combination. That said, there will be other depth options.
My 2 cents
I am on record more than a week ago as being willing to give up Martin Necas (23 years old) plus a higher-end pick or prospect for Jakob Chychrun (24 years old) and ideally upgrading the futures a bit to get Arizona to also take Jake Gardiner. Arizona will have room to take some salary that they need to at least reach the salary cap minimum. Then if Edmonton is still peddling Tyson Barrie, I would do a three-way deal that sees another team take half his salary to make the Canes cap hit $2.25 million. Add Chatfield and the best the Canes can get for about $1 million, and the team will have filled the #4-#7 slots for a total of about $8.5 million which leaves a good amount of budget to build a second scoring forward line.
For most of the other higher-end options, the risk/reward trade-off is incredibly scary in my opinion.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Please feel free to add anyone that I missed in the comments.
2) Who do you like most from this list?
3) Which of the higher-end players that come with some kind of risk would you consider?
4) Would you consider skipping the high-risk options and adding a couple middle-priced players hoping something works?
Of the options I think Tony Deangelo at 2 X 5 mill would’ve been by far the least risky option.
Minor correction, Jeff Petry (not Dan Petry), not that I will take any credit for spelling names correctly).
Can’t say I’m a fan of any of the options. Petry if Mtl pays his bonuses and takes Gardner back (the one year remaining on his contract) maybe, better yet if they take their own player back (8 years at 4 mill is more risky than 3 years at 6 mill).
Thanks for keeping me honest on the names/spelling. I fixed it. There is some part of my brain that is stuck in late 70s through mid 80s sports and takes every opportunity to incorrectly pull a name from the past. Dan Petry was a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers in the era with Jack Morris, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammel…
With the Canes name popping up everywhere around defensemen today, I honestly think there is a chance that they are just making every call to expedite a deal with Arizona for Chychrun. Burns especially seems like an odd one. I just do not see him as being much different than DeAngelo who is a great 3rd pairing defenseman but is overslotted in the top 4 defensively at this stage of his career.
…Guess we will see today if maybe the team rates Burns much higher.
The Canes are in a spot here. Still scratching my head at not paying DeAngelo $5 x 2. I like Klingberg as a player and think he would fit, but the price and term are going to be high! High to the point it would hamstring what the Canes could do, what they need to do, at forward.
I’m a hard no on Chychrun. The Canes need a RH defenseman. Chychrun is pretty good, but not worth all that Arizona is asking. A package with Necas isn’t going to get it done. The reports were that Arizona was looking for top 15 picks. Something the Canes don’t have.
I don’t see Montreal dealing with Dundon unless they think they are fleecing him. Burns has a NMC, so I really doubt he would want to uproot his family to come to NC. All of these options are wacky. I really have no clue what they’ll do.
Oh, and as far as Hayden Fleury goes….NO.
I have no problem passing on TDA at $5m x 2. We need to maintain Cap discipline, and if the team is going to stretch on a player or position, I’d rather see us stretch on a Top-6 Forward rather than a PP quarterback.
To me, the player is likely to come through a trade with a team that’s either (i) in a cap crunch or (ii) has good players whose prime years will be wasted given their stage in a rebuild. Having said that …
Nic Hague’s name pops up a bit as a possible Vegas Cap casualty and he’s another younger player with high upside – basically an Ethan Bear with a higher ceiling … he could be another under-the-radar option, though less proven and a left-shot.
It’s unclear what’s going to happen in WIN and we’ve talked a lot about Scheifele and Dubois and Wheeler, but Neal Poink would be a very interesting target instead. Right-handed with 3 x $5.8 left.
And now with Goodreau leaving CGY, maybe we go after someone like Chris Tanev: 2 x $4.5.
And then let’s see what happens between Jan Rutta and TBY. He might be a solid option.
Moesen was re-signed on a 2-way deal (but with almost no salary difference).
My earlier guess that he will be the big bet to replace Nino for much lower cost still stands.
My bet is on Dylan Strome for 4 mill as the cost controlled 2C solution (not sure it is a good idea, but it is an affordable one).
Montreal are in a bind, they’re flat against the cap ceiling with huge contracts like Cary Price.
It is still possible that they are forced to trade away some quality to attract a star player to get the franchize bcak on the map, even trading with Carolina, though I agree that we are probably not their preferred partners
No idea what to do on defense. But it is not looking like the team’s strength right now, which is definitely a bit different from years past.
Let’s see where this team stands tonight.
what the bargain
If the Canes spend to the cap and mostly allocate that to the top half of the roster, I am a fan of leaving at least one 4th line slot as a legitimate tryout in training camp.
Bring back a couple of the AHL veterans like Noesen on 2-way deals with a guaranteed premium and give them a legitimate shot to compete for an NHL slot. Having a bunch of higher-end skill on the 4th line worked exactly NONE in the playoffs last year. Go instead for more hunger and desire.
Eeehm, looks like BB with his 3 year 8 mill contract is a Cane, or is almost one.
Unless the Sharks cover 3 mill per year and take Gardner back in the trade this looks absolutely bizarre to me.
Might as well bring back Tim Gleason at that age. I’m sure he can still play some minutes.
So BB for 5.2 mill X 3 years (8 mill, Sharks retain 33%).
We give up Lawrence and a goalie prospect.
Very meh indeed, very. If the Sharks had taken back Gardner it would’ve been borderline ok (first year real cap cost only 1 mill).
Well he and Gardner will make quite a pair I guess.
I am on record (on Twitter so far; will write article later) as being skeptical, but best guess is that Canes see him as top 4-capable next to Slavin.
I think he is as good or better offensively as DeAngelo which I think makes him a great #5 defenseman.
But unless the Canes surprise and add another higher-end D to go 5 deep, the measurement of success here will be how Burns fares defensively in a top 4 role in a system that plays aggressively and with pace.
Put up placeholder for discussion (article to follow later) for Burns acquisition.
Burns played 26 minutes a night last season and was only -15 on a really crappy Sharks team. Playing fewer minutes and with Jaccob Slavin should be very helpful. He’s hungry, and a leader. He’ll be a fan favorite quickly if he plays well. I would describe Burns and Dougie Hamilton with a lot more personality. With SJ keeping some salary I like the move. Beats committing a lot of money and term to Klingberg.
The Canes have developed quite a log jam on the right side of their D.
The top 4 is pretty much set, but now you have 3 or 4 guys competing for the third pairing RHD:
That’s definitely one too many.
On the left side you pretty much only have Max Lajoie
I don’t know where Gardner fits into this picture.
It’s pretty clear that Bear will either be traded or let walk (I saw somewhere he’s filed for arbitration, based on his scoring totals last season I wouldn’t expect it to be exorbitent).
My bet is on a third pairing of
Max Lajoie and either Coghlan or Chatfield.
Hopefully Bear could be traded for some help elsewhere in the lineup.