Zach Boychuk had a turbulent 2012-13 season. Before the season started, he signed a one year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes and started the year with the Charlotte Checkers during the lockout. When NHL play resumed he played one game with the Canes before being waived and claimed by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Pens decided to try Boychuk on Evgeni Malkin‘s wing, but the move did not work out and after seven games was waived again. This time the 23-year-old was claimed by the Nashville Predators, where he scored his only goal and assist of the season before being waived again on March 20. The Hurricanes claimed him and put him on waivers two days later to send him to the Checkers yet again.
The Hurricanes originally waived Boychuk because he was costing too much money without playing on the Canes roster and would cost less if he was in the AHL.
In total Boychuk was waived four times and played in three different organizations. But Boychuk is a restricted free agent this summer and the Hurricanes will have to decide what they want to do with the former first round pick.
Because Boychuk is a RFA, the Hurricanes must offer him a qualifying offer by a deadline that is usually set in late June if he is not re-signed by that point. If the Hurricanes do not send a qualifying offer to Boychuk, he would become an unrestricted free agent. Qualifying offers do not have to be agreed upon by the player, they just keep a player in restricted status instead of being able to sign with any team.
This is a possible outcome for Boychuk. The Canes only gave him a one-year contract last season and Boychuk could not stick with the team. However, they did like Boychuk enough to claim him on waivers again and may want to keep him on the Checkers as added scoring depth.
Boychuk will also have a difficult time earning a job on the Hurricanes roster, unless if he has a great training camp, should he be re-signed by the team.
So don’t be surprised if Boychuk is a UFA this summer. He will most likely want a raise that is not worth it for the Hurricanes, while he will not want to play with the Checkers for another season. Instead Boychuk can test the market and try and make it with a team that has less offensive skill.