Carolina Hurricanes Free Agency Preview: Defenseman

Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Who Else?

Now that the “big three” are out of the way, let’s take a look a who else could be available this coming free agency period.

Acquired at the trade deadline, Sami Vatanen has yet to make his Carolina Hurricanes debut. Apparently good to go now, Vatanen has missed some time with a lower body injury he suffered after blocking a shot back with the Devils. Having several setbacks in his road to recovery,  it would be nice for the Canes to be able to get a read on him before the UFA period opens up.

Giving up an asset like Janne Kuokkanen, and some conditional picks, it would be rather unfortunate to never have him play a game for the franchise. Picked up to replace some of Hamilton’s offense, he would have been a nice addition for the stretch run.

Since he’s coming back from an injury, it is possible that he could opt to sign a one year deal before cashing in next offseason. As a right shot, he would be a nice piece for the third pair, second power play unit, should Waddell convince him to stick around.

Among the names on the list he seems like the most likely option for the Canes, but even without a slight raise on his current contract, he would be a luxury they might not be able to afford.

Kevin Shattenkirk has done a nice job at re-establishing himself as a solid middle pair guy in Tampa after a disappoint stint on Broadway. The 31 year is likely to be looking for a 2-3 year deal. The ten year NHL vet is more than likely going to sign with another contender should he not extend with Tampa.

Should he come cheap enough, he might be a nice add for the third pair, if/when Vatanen walks.

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Erik Gustafsson was another guy the Hurricanes reportedly has discussion about at the deadline. Aside from one outlier season, he isn’t really known to put up big the numbers offensively like some of the other names on this list. Traded to Calgary for Chicago, he seems to have fit in well there and will likely sign a deal similar to Gardiner’s.

The final name of this list is T.J. Brodie. Arguably the best “shut down” guy on this list, Brodie’s tenure with the Flames seems to be winding down. With 634 regular season games to his name, he would be a nice addition to any contenting team. At 29, he’s probably looking for a deal with term. Once again to bring him in something is going to have to give off the current roster, making a signing very unlikely.

Similar to the goaltenders, there really isn’t much of a fix between the Carolina Hurricanes and any of these top guys without multiple corresponding moves taking place. As mentioned before, we’ve seen Waddell and Co. sign the top UFA defenseman in back to back season, with varying levels of success. Should it happen for a third year in a row it would be very surprising to say the least.

Related Story. Free Agency Preview: Goaltenders. light

Question for CC readers: Do you see the Carolina Hurricanes as bidders for any of these potential UFA defenseman?