An inconsistent 2014-2015 regular season for the Carolina Hurricanes quickly winding down to an end, and with many big question marks in the air surrounding the team and what direction they are going, this summer is bound to be interesting.
What will also be interesting is how the team will shake out in the salary cap. Being a budget team and not a cap team, the Carolina Hurricanes are expected to end up well-short of the projected NHL salary cap next year, which is around $73 million.
The budget for next season is up in the air and will depend on how things go financially for the team in the coming months. That being considered, it will likely be well-south of the $73 million cap ceiling projected for 2015-2016
Let’s take a look at the Carolina Hurricanes and their forward unit going into the 2015-2016 season.
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*Salary cap numbers courtesy of spotrac.com*
The big contract that Alex Semin currently has could make him a buyout candidate this offseason. A buy out would cost the Hurricanes, though. The Canes would have to pay Semin $2,333,333 per season through the 2020-2021 season. That’s quite a lot of money to pay a player who is not playing for the team. That will be an intriguing story line to follow this offseason.
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Riley Nash and Andrej Nestrasil are both set to be restricted free agents at season’s end. Nash will certainly be in for a pay raise after getting the league minimum over the past 2 seasons. Nestrasil has played well for the team and is still young, so he should get a qualifying offer, if not an outright deal for the 2015-2016 season.
Chris Terry and Patrick Dwyer are both expected to hit the open market in July as unrestricted free agents. Dwyer is a big part of the league’s best penalty killing unit, so if the team can get him back on another very cheap deal, which seems very likely, they should get him back as a 4th liner to go along side with McClement and Malone for another year.
Terry is a guy who is very replaceable, but if they get him back on a 1-year, 2-way deal, it can’t hurt to put him back in the fray for another season.
The 2015-2016 season will be a big contract season for many forwards. Eric Staal, Elias Lindholm, Victor Rask, and Nathan Gerbe are all set to be either UFA’s or RFA’s after next season. All four of those players need to have good seasons, especially the veterans like Staal and Gerbe.
Staal is a guy that will assuredly be rumored in trade talk until/if he gets an extension from the club. He needs to show out next season. That said, I don’t see a situation where he gets a pay raise. His salary will likely go well-south from his current $9.5 million base salary and $8.25 million cap hit.
Gerbe has seen his numbers drop this year after tallying 16 goals and 31 points in the 2013-2014 season. He has just 7 goals and 23 points so far this season. A hot surge near the end of the season could see him match his numbers from last season. He is clearly a guy that brings plenty of energy to the lineup and is deserving of an NHL roster spot. Despite this, some people think that, due to his slight stature, he doesn’t fit in well to the current build of the team.
Elias Lindholm and Victor Rask will both be coming off of their rookie deals. Both will likely get low money bridge deals that could lead into bigger contracts 2 or 3 years down the road, depending how on their development goes.