How Much is He Worth Now?
So what exactly is he worth? That’s a really tough question to answer, and could cause a road-block to Haula re-signing with the Canes. He’s been the Hurricanes’ 3rd line center to start, and figures to stay in that slot throughout the season, barring injury.
If he holds true on viewing himself as a top-6 forward, it could cause a sizeable gap in dollars that Haula commands, versus what the Canes would be willing to pay.
When considering a contract for a player, you can’t just base it off their role. Sure, Haula is a 3C, but his production far exceeds that. He kills penalties, and he’s been one of the 6 players on the ice when the Canes have had the goalie pulled trying to tie games late in the 3rd period. He’s also played 17-18 minutes each game, which not a lot of 3rd line players do.
Based on his ice-time, role, production, injury history, and all applicable factors, I looked league wide for some potential comparables for a Haula contract. Bear in mind, the current group of centers slated to be UFAs next summer include Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nicklas Backstrom, Mikael Granlund, Mikko Koivu, Cody Eakin, Haula, and more.
Which, obviously, could either add or subtract to his value on the open market dependant on how many of those guys reach UFA status. For the comparables, I used production in the couple of seasons before signing the contract, age at the time of signing, and production trends in comparison to Haula. These following players were similar to him:
Kyle Turris – 6 years x 6 million AAV
Frans Nielsen – 6 years x 5.25 million AAV
Nick Schmaltz – 7 years x 5.85 million AAV
Yanni Gourde – 6 years x 5.16 million AAV
Adam Henrique – 5 years x 5.825 million AAV
Judging by the 5 guys mentioned above, who all had similar production to Haula’s form the last couple years when they signed their contracts, one thing is evidently clear: Haula won’t come cheap. If the Hurricanes want to retain this guy, they better be ready to pony up.
Can they? But they’re cap strapped, how will they fit him in?
Fortunately, cap-wise, things will clear up for the Hurricanes after this season. They currently have about 1.75 million of space. Patrick Marleau‘s 6.25 million dollar cap hit will drop off the books for next season. Trevor van Riemsdyk (2.3M) and Joel Edmundson (3.1M) are impending UFAs, and, judging by the Canes prospect depth on D, as well as their presumed desire for raises, could factor themselves out of the Canes plans moving forward.