Three star forwards the Hurricanes should look at signing in free agency

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - MAY 19: Warren Foegele #13 of the Carolina Hurricanes plays the puck while defended by Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators during the third period in Game Two of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena on May 19, 2021 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - MAY 19: Warren Foegele #13 of the Carolina Hurricanes plays the puck while defended by Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators during the third period in Game Two of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena on May 19, 2021 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 4
Next
CALGARY, AB – MAY 20: Johnny Gaudreau #13 of the Calgary Flames in action against the Edmonton Oilers during Game Two of the Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on May 20, 2022, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Oilers defeated the Flames 5-3. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
CALGARY, AB – MAY 20: Johnny Gaudreau #13 of the Calgary Flames in action against the Edmonton Oilers during Game Two of the Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on May 20, 2022, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Oilers defeated the Flames 5-3. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /

Johnny Gaudreau

Calgary is going to be a team to watch this summer as they have some restricted free agents of their own wanting major pay raises, but they also have a pending unrestricted free agent in the form of Johnny Gaudreau. We know the Salem, New Jersey native is set to hit the market and is going to be the cream of this free-agent crop. He is the player going into this free-agent frenzy with the most to gain.

Gaudreau is coming off the best season of his career. Comfortably hitting the 100-point mark this year, Gaudreau hit 40 goals and 75 assists for 115 points on the season. It’s far and away the best year of Johnny Gaudreau’s hockey career and he is going to be hitting the market according to most sources. Despite reports of a deal nearing between the player and team, those have since been shut down.

If Gaudreau is to hit the open market, he’s going to be the big fish. What happens with Gaudreau will not only impact what happens with Forsberg, but it could shake up the entire free agent frenzy. He’s going to be the clog in the pipe. He’s the one everyone wants, so teams are unlikely to settle on other players until he knows where he’s going so he’s an important player, which will drive his value up.

Gaudreau could comfortably get a 7-year deal carrying an $11 million cap hit. Carolina obviously cannot afford that. However, if the Canes can present a chance for Gaudreau to target a Stanley Cup, in a state with a more enjoyable climate, the loudest building in the sport, and a decent cap hit? He might be persuaded. It is worth taking a run at the biggest fish in this free-agent class.