Carolina Hurricanes: Losses to the unmerciful fangs of NHL Free Agency

RALEIGH, NC - FEBRUARY 1: Cam Ward. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - FEBRUARY 1: Cam Ward. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images) /

As expected, the Carolina Hurricanes have lost several players to free agency. Let’s take a look at the good and the bad.

For better or for worse, you can’t keep everybody. At least six Carolina Hurricanes will be heading to new teams next season, as a result of the unmerciful fangs of free agency. The Hurricanes will have a lot of work to do, in order to replace empty spots on their roster. Let’s take a look at the players that are leaving via free agency. Remember, this list could possibly grow.

Derek Ryan

Next season, Derek Ryan will be joining the Calgary Flames. There, he will become reunited with teammates, Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm, as well as Coach Bill Peters. Ryan was originally undrafted, and signed with the Hurricanes in mid-2016.

In 153 games with the Canes, Ryan has 69 points, and only scored 38 points in 80 games last season. It puzzles me why the Flames would want to give a 3 year, 9 million dollar deal to Ryan, but what’s done is done. The Hurricanes will be on the hunt for a replacement third-line center. I wish Derek the best at his new location.

Joakim Nordstrom

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As fun as his name is to say, this really had to be done. Nordstrom was a decent 4th line LW in 2015-16, but his production has been rapidly in decline, ever since. Nordstrom contributed just 7 points in 75 games this year. Joakim will be joining the Boston Bruins next year.

If we check his advanced stats, Nordstrom finished with quite an abysmal -4.1 relative corsi. This means that overall, the Hurricanes shoot more and allow less shots when Nordstrom is off the ice. Nordstrom is a far better fit into the Bruin’s style of play, and I expect him to do significantly better there. I hope he is able to create a new path in his career.

Josh Jooris

This one is kind of cheating. Jooris played only 31 games with the Hurricanes this year, and finished his season with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In a combined 40 regular season games, Jooris scored only 6 points. Fortunately, he has other talents that make him a suitable 4th liner. His departure will leave 2 holes down the middle, but nothing that can’t be replaced.

At the age of 27, Jooris is getting into that oh-so-scary ‘Veteran’ category. It will be great to see him play with a potential Stanley Cup contender in Toronto withe Leafs. Josh is a good guy to have on any team, and he will be missed.

Marcus Kruger

Marcus Kruger also had a bit of a disappointing season with the Hurricanes. He scored only 6 points in the 48 games he was dressed for. The Hurricanes have a great chance to improve their fourth line with the departure of Kruger and Nordstrom.

Kruger is one of those guys who’s great at what he does. He’s not a goal-scorer, nor exactly a defensive offenseman. He’s a grinder.  One of my memories of Kruger is actually when he played for the Blackhawks. I remember how intimidating he was to go up against on that already dynamite Chicago team. I really do like Kruger, but it was probably a good idea to move on from him and let the Arizona Coyotes have him.

Klas Dahlbeck

This did happen a little while ago, but Dahlbeck has officially moved off to the KHL in Russia. He was drafted by Chicago in 2011, played 2 seasons with the Coyotes and finally made his way to Raleigh. Dahlbeck flipped between the NHL and AHL last year, and only ended up dressing for 33 games this year. He finished with 5 points.

I really can’t blame Klas for his decision. If I was only dressed for 33 games, I would probably leave as well. Such is the world of hockey. Hopefully, Dahlbeck can get the time he deserves in Russia. He is a talented defenseman, and he will get to prove himself elsewhere.

Cam Ward

Save the biggest splash for last. Cam Ward has done more for the Hurricanes than any other player. In his rookie season, Ward posted a lackluster .882 save percentage. In the 2006 playoffs, Ward snagged the goalie position from starter Martin Gerber, facing a 2 game deficit against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Hurricanes stormed back, and won the series. This rookie, drafted 25th overall in 2002, ended up with a .920 save percentage in 23 playoff games. Ward led the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup. Good times.

Ever since then, Ward has been with us all the way. Even when we thought he wasn’t the starting goalie anymore, he kept stealing it back. It will be tough to look at the Carolina Hurricanes the same way without Cam Ward. He’ll now be wearing a Chicago Blackhawks jersey.

Next: Carolina Hurricanes: A quick Draft Analysis


With the recent blockbuster trade, and so many leaving, the Hurricanes are arguably entering a new era. Time will tell who will replace the departed Hurricanes of 2017-18.

Sources: Eliteprospects, Hockeydb