Over the next two weeks or so, we’ll look at the restricted and unrestricted free agents on the Carolina Hurricanes roster. We’ll look at pros and cons of signing each player and give a final opinion on what the team should do. A poll will be included in each post.
On October 31, 2013, the Carolina Hurricanes and Manny Malhotra agreed to terms on a one-year deal after he played with the Charlotte Checkers on a professional tryout. At the time, I don’t think the Canes knew what kind of impact Manny Malhotra would have on this team.
Manny Malhotra’s eye injury scared off the entire league. After playing just nine games in the 2013 shortened season, it looked like Manny Malhotra’s NHL career was over, but Jim Rutherford took a chance on Manny, and it was well worth it.
Manny Malhotra played a majority of the season on the Carolina Hurricanes’ fourth line. He also saw a good amount of time on the Carolina Hurricanes’ penalty kill, which ranked 17th in the NHL this season.
In 69 games played this year, Manny Malhotra scored seven goals, had six assists, and had an even plus/minus. Malhotra ranked second in faceoff percentage among NHL centermen who took at least 600 draws. He won 59.5 percent of his faceoffs on 952 attempts.
On top of his respectable play on the fourth line, Manny Malhotra was an exceptional leader for his teammates. The Carolina Hurricanes were led on and off the ice by this seasoned NHL veteran.
Jordan Staal‘s faceoff percentage jumped by over four percentage points from last season, and that likely would not have happened without Manny Malhotra on the team. He also earned the alternate captain role on the team on a part time assignment, then when Tim Gleason was traded, he was the alternate captain for the remainder of the season.
The 33-year-old center has a very good shot at winning the Bill Masterton Memorial trophy this summer, and deservedly so.
Manny Malhotra isn’t a young player. At 33-years-old, he is not the player he was back in 2010. That being said, Manny Malhotra’s role on the team doesn’t demand that he plays 20 minutes every night. Most of the time, Malhotra will play around 10 minutes per game, and he played very well in that role for the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Carolina Hurricanes gave Malhotra $600k last season. I’d expect a slight raise from that, if the Carolina Hurricanes re-sign Manny Malhotra. I think $700k is about right for Manny Malhotra on a one-year deal, and that contract is definitely doable for this team. He has also expressed interest in returning to the team.
I think that the Caroline Hurricanes should re-sign Manny Malhotra. As a fourth-line center, Manny Malhotra is a very good option for the team.