The Carolina Hurricanes had a busy day to open free agency yesterday, adding several players and losing a few along the way.
The moves were consistent with what’s been an unexpected offseason for the Hurricanes so far. To recap, here are the notable additions and subtractions from the roster this offseason:
G- Frederik Andersen ($4.5M x 2 years)
G- Antti Raanta ($2M x 2 years)
D- Ian Cole ($2.9M x 1 year)
D- Ethan Bear (TRADE)
D- Tony DeAngelo ($1M x 1 year)
F- Josh Leivo ($0.75M x 1 year)
D- Dougie Hamilton (FREE AGENCY)
G- Alex Nedeljkovic (TRADE)
D- Jake Bean (TRADE)
G- Petr Mrazek (FREE AGENCY)
F- Warren Foegele (TRADE)
F- Brock McGinn (FREE AGENCY)
G- James Reimer (FREE AGENCY)
D- Jani Hakanpaa (FREE AGENCY)
F- Morgan Geekie (SEATTLE)
F- Cedric Paquette (FREE AGENCY)
As you can see, there’s quite a bit more talent heading out than there is coming in right now.
Perhaps the strangest move of the offseason so far was dealing Alex Nedeljkovic to the Detroit Red Wings for a third-round pick. It’s clear the team wasn’t willing to pay close to market value for the goalie, who signed a two-year deal with the Red Wings for a very reasonable $3 million per year.
Nedeljkovic was a Calder Trophy finalist and at just 25 years old, he seemed to be the team’s next franchise starter. Moving him to take a gamble on Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta, who are both now in their 30s, made little sense.
Next, everything involving Jake Bean was odd. The former 13th overall pick was left exposed in the expansion draft in order to protect Brady Skjei, which didn’t seem to be the right decision. Then after Seattle decided to take Morgan Geekie instead, the Hurricanes opted to deal Bean for a second-round pick anyways.
Bean had just made the jump to the NHL and his offensive game was certainly translating. While he had issues defensively, he’s just 23 years old and had the potential to become a top-four defenseman.
Then the most notable departure came yesterday, when Dougie Hamilton signed a seven-year deal with the New Jersey Devils, which carries a $9 million cap hit. While it was a high price to pay, the Hurricanes didn’t come anywhere near offering market value, which was disappointing to see. The Athletic’s Sara Civian reported that Carolina’s final offer for the defender was a seven-year deal at $6.2 million per year.
I would understand the Hurricanes passing on re-signing the defender if they felt as though the contract will be so overpriced that it will hurt them in other ways and they could find an effective replacement at a lower price. But if the final offer really was $6.2 million per year, that’s a pretty weak attempt at trying to retain a high-profile defender.
The Hurricanes did pick up some replacement defensemen, adding Ian Cole and Tony DeAngelo in free agency, along with Ethan Bear via trade. While I do like the Ethan Bear trade, I was highly against the Hurricanes going anywhere near DeAngelo.
No matter how you look at it, the Hurricanes are not a better team now than they were heading into the offseason. The team does have significant cap space and lots of time remaining before next season but for now, Carolina's management is off to a poor start this summer.
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