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2019 Carolina Hurricanes Off Season Thread

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Here's your spot for all things Hurricanes once they start to clean out their lockers. Who's going, who's staying, who's getting paid that CASH, who's not.

I'll kick things off with our beloved leader, Justin Williams. Frankly, Williams is at the point in his career where every time his team runs out of game to play, retirement is a reasonable option. There's only so much punishment a body can take and brother will be will be 38 years in early October ... pretty much right around when next season will start. In hockey years, that's about 100. Few can play as long as he has, and at a fairly high level. And based on media comments, he sent some mixed signals in the post game last night. It's tough to discern what part of that was savoring a season of renewal for his team and what part of that was savoring his last hurrah ... either being this deep in the playoffs, or simply being in the game at all.

My guess ... this year was a pretty memorable one, so it would be a fitting end to his career should he choose to hang 'em up. By the same token, this is a guy who's been a leader in this league a long, long time and he only just now got the chance to wear the C and be THE leader. He loves these kids and I think he loves being a father figure to them. Personally, I think it's down to his body and how loudly it's shouting at him to knock it off with the punishment. I think it could go either way. If he comes back, I'm fairly sure it will be in a reduced role. I'm sure he'd still be the Captain, but I doubt the Canes will ask a 38 year old to carry the load on the ice that he carried this season.

My final verdict? Too soon to say, but I think it could go either way.
 

RDUCaniac

Member
I think he should retire. He is noticeably a step behind. He had a great season. Brind'Amour stayed a season too long and he was awful his last year. I don't want to see William's go that route.
 

TheBigKahuna

Well-known member
How much $$ would be required to keep him? Are there 2 or 3 Checkers ready to make the full rime jump to NHL?
 

cmaleski2

Well-known member
I think Justin Williams signs on for one more season. The money won't be any sort of issue if he wants to play one more season.

This team has a bunch of decisions to make but I'm hard pressed to remember us having this solid of a defense and this many young players playing prominent roles on our lineup. We also have a pile of intriguing prospects in the minors such as Gauthier, Geekie, Saarela (sort of maybe), Kuokkanen, Necas, Mattheos, Roy and Bean and Ned. That is a unusually large pile of assets to either tap as potential replacements for Ferland, McKegg and/or Maenalanen or even Lucas Wallmark or Justin Williams if he retires. Not that I want to go all kids again, but there is talent there waiting to push for jobs or to use as trade bait. Add in the 28th or 29th overall pick and the Buffalo and Rangers 2nd round picks, we have things to trade and plenty of cap room to play with if needed.

This will be an interesting offseason to see how the organization reacts to being relevant again. There is as lot of work to do. Simply re-signing Curtis and Petr and then just replacing Ferland with a rookie while retaining everyone else and hoping that is good enough would be a crime. This team needs serious work that goes beyond just promoting from within if we want to STAY relevant. If we want to stay out of the big name UFA pool that is fine, but lets use this asset depth to secure the legitimate top 6 center we are still lacking. I'm not sure Necas is going to ever be that guy, but I am very sure he isn't ready to be that guy next season.
 
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jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
How much $$ would be required to keep him? Are there 2 or 3 Checkers ready to make the full rime jump to NHL?
Williams was on a 2 year deal worth a total of $9 million that was equally split between the two years, and had a limited no trade clause. I'd say $3.5 million for a one year deal with a full no trade would do the trick, give or take a few hundred thou.

Charlotte in terms of forwards? Necas is certain to get another shot, probably at wing this time. Saarela will get a look, as will Kuokkanen ... they've been fairly close before. Gauthier will likely make a push, since he finally seems to have found some traction. Geekie might as well, although he probably needs another year in the oven. And they're going to have to figure out what to do with Poturalski. He's 25 now and has been Charlotte's best all around forward for two seasons. He's also a UFA this summer and I'm not sure he re-signs without the promise of a real shot at the NHL roster. Brown is ready for grunt duty, for sure ... and he's also a UFA this summer.

In terms of having a legit shot at a top 6 role next season, I think you're probably down to Saarela and Necas. Saarela potted 30 this year and has the offensive game but he reminds me too much of Zykov if I'm honest. Necas is made of skill and seems to be determined to be a proper NHL player sooner rather than later. He'll work hard again this summer and hopefully continue to add some strength to go with all that shimmy.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Contract Status as of the end of the season:

UFAs
Forwards ... Williams, Ferland, McKegg

Defense ... none

Goal ... Mrazek, McIlhenney

RFAs
Forwards ... Aho, McGinn, Maenalanen

Defense ... Fleury

Goal ... Nedeljkovic

Notes: Aho will be expensive but should get done. McGinn and Maenalanen should be easy. Ferland is toast. Fleury will be double tricky. They pretty much have to sign him but probably want to be careful to do so with a deal that will make him a viable trade option. Williams is up to him and God only knows what they want to do in net.

Minor UFAs ... Brown, Poturalski, Renouf

Minor RFAs ... Carrick, McKeown, Wesley

Notes: Those D are tricky. Wesley is gone, but the other two will be tough to re-sign without the promise of NHL time or over-payment. Brown and Poturalsky will be tricky as well. Both probably feel like they can play in the NHL.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
FWIW, the Hurricanes have announced that locker cleanout day won't be until Monday, with player press availability. Brindy and Waddell will have a season wrap up with the media on Tuesday. Giving the guys the weekend to be with their families and get their feet under them before having to face questions again ... good call. This club REALLY does look after their guys.
 

CanadaCanes

Well-known member
I think Justin Williams signs on for one more season. The money won't be any sort of issue if he wants to play one more season.

This team has a bunch of decisions to make but I'm hard pressed to remember us having this solid of a defense and this many young players playing prominent roles on our lineup. We also have a pile of intriguing prospects in the minors such as Gauthier, Geekie, Saarela (sort of maybe), Kuokkanen, Necas, Mattheos, Roy and Bean and Ned. That is a unusually large pile of assets to either tap as potential replacements for Ferland, McKegg and/or Maenalanen or even Lucas Wallmark or Justin Williams if he retires. Not that I want to go all kids again, but there is talent there waiting to push for jobs or to use as trade bait. Add in the 28th or 29th overall pick and the Buffalo and Rangers 2nd round picks, we have things to trade and plenty of cap room to play with if needed.

This will be an interesting offseason to see how the organization reacts to being relevant again. There is as lot of work to do. Simply re-signing Curtis and Petr and then just replacing Ferland with a rookie while retaining everyone else and hoping that is good enough would be a crime. This team needs serious work that goes beyond just promoting from within if we want to STAY relevant. If we want to stay out of the big name UFA pool that is fine, but lets use this asset depth to secure the legitimate top 6 center we are still lacking. I'm not sure Necas is going to ever be that guy, but I am very sure he isn't ready to be that guy next season.
I agree CMal, this team has never had more young, promising prospects and overall depth and you have to capitalize smartly to fill in the holes this summer. I hope Waddell and company address all of their needs one at a time to be sure they are not late to the party when it comes to both making the money work and being front and center in a trade if it’s out there.

I think you can pencil in Necas as more of a winger on next years team as the Canes use that excess draft capital to shop for a second line center. I see Williams back on a one year swan song deal and Ferland out the door. Mrazek likely gets a new deal and they go with Ned as the backup as risky as that sounds.

I’d like to see a true rough and tumble veteran winger take Ferland’s spot just to keep everyone honest, you can find that easy enough.
 

HurryCanes

Active member
Exciting summer and training camp coming up. Haven’t said that in a while. I’m very interested to see what the 3rd line looks like next year. We have more than enough folks that should belong on the fourth line and to really take it to the next step it has to be better. And by taking it to the next level I mean just consistently being in the playoffs. McGinn is interesting to me; yes he made the OT goal against the caps but you just can’t have a guy on the third line if he routinely can’t hit the net. Maybe this summer he’ll up his accuracy.
 

Elsker

Active member
Surprising and beneficial playoff run. We learned a lot, including as Clint Eastwood's character advises: "Man's got to know his limitations".

And special teams heads our list of limitations. That's got to be fixed, somehow someway. Whether by personnel, system, coach, whatever.

Power play is a top-six and D-man problem. Penalty kill usually involving more bottom-six forwards and D-men, although we ran Aho and Teravainen out there both out of talent-deficit necessity and perhaps strategically going for opportunistic turnovers with players that could finish breakaways and odd-man rushes.

Also learned we could use a bit more oomph somewhere in the line-up. And, surprisingly, face-offs were also a bit of an issue.

There's frankly no one in the bottom-six that I don't feel we could improve upon, although I expect to see most of them back. Amazing we got as far as we did with mostly AHL tweeners filling those ranks.

So, needs:
- more skill players (5-on-5 and power play)
- actual power play system(s) and players that can/will execute the system
- better penalty killers (and perhaps a better systematic approach)
- more physicality on the roster
- goaltending? (maybe)
 

Elsker

Active member
#1 off-season task: re-sign Aho.

Can't let the post-collision performance color our views as to what he's worth. Prior to that incident he was on a near-90-point pace and ended up with 83 points as it was. Led the team through the playoffs, even with diminished mobility.

While sympathetic to The Big Kahuna's "is he our guy?" question and concerns about over-paying, he is indeed our guy. Yeah, ideally he's the 2C and Staal's the 3C, but we've been down the elusive unicorn 1C path before.

We're lucky that Aho can fill that 1C role for us, although we do need to flank him with true first-line wingers so he doesn't have to do everything alone. Teravainen might be such a winger. But Williams, Ferland, Neidereiter, etc. are not. Need a true 1LW to skate with him. Put that on the list. Maybe it's Svetchnikov (eventually)...but probably not as soon as next season.

I don't see Aho's cap hit escalating too highly. Something between $8M and $9M will probably do the trick and be a bargain before the contract expires.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Look ... even if Aho's not a true 1st line center, he's absolutely a proper 1st line winger. As Elsker says, we're juts fortunate that he's good enough to at least hold down the fort at 1C while another option presents itself. Necas ... some other guy ... whatever. Sadly I think he's going ot be stuck at center for a while because I think Necas at least ends up breaking in on the wing.

The Canes made noise about wanting another offensive forward and I see that as just as big a goal for the summer as settling the RFA contracts and settling the goalie situation. And for the record, I'm not opposed to using draft picks to do that.
 

TheBigKahuna

Well-known member
I'd still love to see the Canes go after a true #1 center. At the least a 1a/1b type on par with Aho. Staal had a great 2nd half. But he's still our best 3rd center. This franchise has skimped or struggled to find centers, for a long time.
 

perfectstormhits

Active member
We have an owner who just pissed away 250 million on a failed football league.

He should easily be able to spend to the NHL salary cap to improve this team.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
I'd still love to see the Canes go after a true #1 center. At the least a 1a/1b type on par with Aho. Staal had a great 2nd half. But he's still our best 3rd center. This franchise has skimped or struggled to find centers, for a long time.
Absolutely. Aho did well at center, but that doesn't mean that he's still not better suited for the wing. And Brind'Amour seems to be on board with that, even if circumstances dictated otherwise. Aho WANTS to play center. That doesn't mean he has to. Carolina needs a bigger body in that spot if nothing else, and Aho ain't getting any bigger.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
David Pagnotta from The Fourth Period tweeted that it’s his understanding that the Canes will buy out Darling when the window opens and that he’s aware of that. That also means the Canes must sign a goalie before July 1 to comply with the CBA requirement that all teams have 3 goalies under contract. All they’ll have is Booth and Helvig; Mrazek and Mac are UFAs, Ned is a RFA.


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