The Carolina Hurricanes, for the first time in franchise history, are sitting at the cap ceiling. That should terrify the rest of the league.
The Carolina Hurricanes have made several moves this off-season. Don Waddell, fresh off a new General Manager Contract with the team, has made move after move to improve a team that made it all the way to Eastern Conference Finals last season. And improve on it he did.
Don Waddell has managed to trade for and sign eleven new players to the team. Of those eleven at least three or more are expected to be on the roster come opening day here in less than three weeks. The rest are expected to back fill a checkers roster that has been depleted after winning the Calder Cup last season.
But Along with those trades and signings were seven re-signings as well. While the losses have been minimal, only four staples of the roster last year have found new homes on new teams and team captain Justin Williams stepping away from the league, Waddell has managed to to keep adding to the team. Not to mention their outstanding draft.
But now the team is up against something they haven’t faced since they moved to Carolina; the cap ceiling. The team is currently above the cap, but can easily move back under it by moving a few contracts to the minor league level. They can also move Justin Faulk and his final year of contract to make some cap space. So far talks with Anaheim have fallen just short of a deal.
So where does this leave the team? In a lot better position than they were last season when they racked up 99 points to slip into the playoffs as the first wildcard in the East. And to think they didn’t get their momentum until after the new year, if the Carolina Hurricanes have improved even a little, they will be a force to reckon with.
Historically the Carolina Hurricanes haven’t given the rest of the league anything to worry about. After all, they don’t have much in the way of big names at really any position. Many good players, but none elite. Even now, the best player on the team, Sebastian Aho, has only managed to gain some attention, but is still not considered elite. Even if most caniacs disagree.
Even if the Carolina Hurricanes maintain the pace they held during the second half of last season, they are in prime position to win the division. To think that they have gotten better and have made sure that there isn’t a dime they could have spent on a better player out there, should downright terrify the rest of the league.
If we were to break down how the team with the second most salary spend as of writing this article breaks down the contracts between offense, defense, and goalies, we will find out that it is extremely well balanced. With $40M spent on the forwards, $28M on Defense and $6.5M on net-minders, the Carolina Hurricanes don’t have their money focused on any specific aspect of their game.
That balance is critical. It means that it only takes a few players sent down to the minors to get under the cap limit. That means that of the few teams over the cap limit, the Carolina Hurricanes do not need to make a trade or put bigger names on waivers before entering the season. And the roster as it is now, especially the defense is incredible.
With only Saku Maenalanen remaining as far as RFAs go, the Carolina Hurricanes are primed to take the league by storm come October. Last year they managed to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals coasting close to the cap floor. Its not hard to imagine what they can do closer to the cap ceiling. Its on the rest of the league to Take Warning.