Top 5 Free Agents the Carolina Hurricanes Should Target

Jun 1, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes right wing Sebastian Aho (20) skates with the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game two of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 1, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes right wing Sebastian Aho (20) skates with the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game two of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
5 of 7
Next
May 24, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki (14) reacts with teammates including forward Corey Perry (94) and forward Tomas Tatar (90) after scoring a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period in game three of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
May 24, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki (14) reacts with teammates including forward Corey Perry (94) and forward Tomas Tatar (90) after scoring a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period in game three of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /

Tomas Tatar

Another top 6/9 winger, how creative! I cannot stress how important it is for the Carolina Hurricanes can get some type of reliable depth scoring. This playoffs is a prime example of how injuries can ruin a deep playoff run fast, as losing Nino Niederreiter, Vincent Trocheck and Warren Foegele left the Carolina Hurricanes running with Jordan Martinook playing as a top 9 center and before injury, playing Warren Foegele in the top 6, which isn’t the most ideal scenario.

30-year old Tomas Tatar is currently in the third round of the playoffs with the Montreal Canadiens after a complete and utter mental collapse and failure to clinch a series by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, and a thorough sweeping of the Winnipeg Jets in round two. Tatar was drafted 60th overall in the 2nd round of the 2009 NHL Draft.

Tatar would be brought over to North America the next year and play for the Grand Rapid Griffins of the AHL, putting up 16 goals and matching that with 16 assists for 32 points in 58 games. Tatar would spend the next year bouncing between the AHL and NHL level, putting up 1 goal and 2 points in 9 games with the Detroit Red Wings and 24 goals with 57 points with the Grand Rapids Griffins, a nice step up in scoring from the year before.

Tomas Tatar would spend a full season in the AHL in the 2011-2012 season, putting up 24 goals again to go along with 58 points in 76 games. Tatar would then start his season in Slovakia as the 2012-2013 NHL season had a fun lockout to deal with. He had 10 points in 8 games with 5 goals, then made his return to North America, scoring 4 goals and 7 points in 18 games at the NHL level then 23 goals and 49 points in 61 games in his last season down in the AHL, winning the Calder Cup to boot. In those playoffs, Tatar scored a monster 16 goals to go along with 21 points in 24 games, being named the AHL player of the playoffs, winning the Jack A. Butterfield trophy.

As I mentioned, 2013 was his last year in the AHL, as Tatar had finally earned a NHL spot. In his first season playing full time NHL minutes, Tatar had 19 goals along with 39 points in 73 games with the Detroit Red Wings, with 0 points in 5 playoff games. Tatar would play 4 more seasons for the Red Wings, totaling 115 goals and 222 points in 407 games. During the 2017-2018 season, Tatar would be dealt at the deadline to the newcomer, the Vegas Golden Knights, for a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd round pick. Tatar would put up 4 goals and 6 points in 20 games, plus a goal and a assist in 8 playoff games.

Tomas Tatar would then be traded again, this time to his current team, the Montreal Canadiens, in a trade that would benefit both teams. Tatar, alongside first round pick Nick Suzuki, would head to Montreal for former captain of the Habs, Max Pacioretty. Tatar has had a good amount of success with the Canadiens, totaling 57 goals and 149 points in 198 games. Tatar is on the last year of a 4-year, $21.2 million dollar deal he signed with the Red Wings back in 2017.

Now, do I think Tatar will hit unrestricted free agency like he is supposed to? With the Canadiens having around $12 million in cap and needing to resign Phillip Danault, Joel Armia, Artturi Lehkonen, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and a few other depth pieces, as well as the fact that Tatar was healthy scratched for Jake Evans in Game 6 of the first round, tells me there is a high chance Tatar won’t re-sign with the Montreal Canadiens.

What would a contract for Tatar look like, you ask? Well, my guess would be something around his current contract, about 3-4 years and somewhere between $5-5.5 million. The Carolina Hurricanes can fit this into the current budget, and plugging him into the top 9 formula, a lineup with Tatar could look something like:

Svechnikov-Aho-Teravainen

Tatar-Trocheck-Necas

Niederreiter-Staal-Jarvis

Again, more physical line with Jarvis, a la Svechnikov being with Staal his rookie year (partially because Staal was used as top 6 in the absence of Erik Haula), a second line that could honestly be dropped in Buffalo and become a top line they haven’t seen in years and the reuniting, hopefully full time, of the TSA line.

Once more, Tatar would complete the powerplay units. With a first unit of Svechnikov, Aho, Teravainen, Trocheck and Hamilton and a second unit of Tatar, Jarvis, Necas, Niederreiter and potentially Jake Bean depending on how the expansion draft plays out. Depth scoring has been a huge problem for the Carolina Hurricanes in both the regular season and in the playoffs and signing someone like Tatar could add a huge boost offensively. This is becoming a bit of a broken record, but it is incredibly important for the Canes to find someone that can score 15-20 goals and produce consistently.