When Free Agency finally comes around, one name that the Carolina Hurricanes should consider pursuing is winger Tyler Toffoli.
The Carolina Hurricanes have come a long way in roster building from a few years ago. Almost every position has been filled with good depth. Many of the best players on the team are locked in for a few more years and with the right moves this offseason, the Carolina Hurricanes could be looking at being favorites to win the Cup next year.
But what are the spots without depth? For years the center position has been a massive question mark. But with Sebastian Aho, Vincent Trocheck, Jordan Staal, Jordan Martinook, and even Martin Necas playing the depth roles at center, the team has addressed it pretty well.
The defense is pretty beefy too. With only the signed players and the single UFA, Haydn Fleury, the Carolina Hurricanes have a full three pairings. Jaccob Slavin with Dougie Hamilton, Brady Skjei with Brett Pesce, and Jake Gardiner with Fleury. The longer this season drags on to restart, the more likely Pesce will be ready for next year.
The goaltending is another question mark, but with both James Reimer and Petr Mrazek signed for an additional season and Alex Nedjelkovic due to come up next year on a one-way deal, there isn’t much room for tinkering here outside of a trade.
That just leaves the wingers. Here is where it gets interesting. Of the nine wingers that played int he last few games before the hiatus, only Justin Williams and Warren Foegele are up for new contracts.
As an RFA, Foegele is going to get a bridge deal. His last season wasn’t as great as it could have been, but he does have the potential to be better.
Justin Williams, on the other hand, is not ruling out retirement but for the sake of this article, let’s assume that he will ride into the sunset and land a good assistant coaching gig somewhere in the league, preferably with the Hurricanes.
While Morgan Geekie would be the ideal replacement on this roster, there really isn’t much in the way of talent on this roster otherwise. Only Teuvo Terravainen, Andrei Svechnikov, and Necas really offer that finishing touch off the wings. Geekie is good, but he still needs time to develop at the NHL level.
That leaves a glaring hole that is keeping this team from being a complete contender. A right-handed winger that can fill in the second line.
Enter Tyler Toffoli. The 28-year-old winger has been one of the new bright spots on the LA Kings’ roster in the last few years. He was traded to the Vancouver Canucks before the deadline where he continued to shine and perhaps even got better. He was on his way to a career-high season before the hiatus.
More from Cardiac Cane
- 2023 Southeast Rookie Showcase: Takeaways from the Canes’ Strong Showing in Florida
- Week Two Coverage Of College Hockey In NC
- Derek Stepan Ends His On Ice Career As A Hurricane
- The Southeast Rookie Showcase Will Be a Good Look at Carolina’s Future
- Noesen Ready To Provide Depth For Canes
Adding Toffoli to the roster completes the second line. It also adds a right-handed shot that this team desperately needs. Putting him on a line with Trocheck and Necas can turn the Carolina Hurricanes into a one-two punch team with two lines that can bring in the goals and two lines that can hold the fort and grind out the puck long enough to get the first two back on the ice.
That is what this team is missing. This also allows guys like Dzingel to get some veteran play with Staal and Nino Niederreiter on a third line that is probably better than most second lines in the league.
It also reduces the stress on guys like Brock McGinn, Martinook, and Foegele from having to grind out long minutes of play and lets them push for some offense themselves.
The results from adding just one good player can be outstanding. But can the Carolina Hurricanes afford it?
Now assuming that the Hurricanes retain Geekie at the NHL level, don’t re-sign any UFAs, the only NHL level RFAs that are given a contract are Foegele and Fleury and solve their three-headed goalie problem, that will leave them with around $9 Million in cap space with Patrick Marleau‘s buyout falling off.
Toffoli, coming off a $4.6 million a year contract is probably looking to add a little over a year in AAV to his payroll. This is something that Carolina can absolutely afford. The only question is about his age. At 29 years of age next year, can the winger still play at a second-line level or higher?
I think so, adding Toffoli could be the best and most cost-effective move the Carolina Hurricanes make next season.