Carolina’s final restricted free agent defenseman is finally under contract. Maxime Lajoie signed a deal with the organization carrying a league minimum $750 thousand cap hit but that isn’t the interesting part here. Carolina will now have a second buyout window open for them in 3 days to buy out a player carrying a cap hit of more than $4 million. We’ll get back to this but for now, let’s talk about Lajoie.
Lajoie was the premier left-sided defenseman on the Chicago Wolves last season as the Wolves would go and win the Calder Cup. He was acquired from the Ottawa Senators in a trade at the start of the 2021 shortened season. Since then, he has played in 5 games for the Carolina Hurricanes. Nothing in terms of points or production at the NHL level, but he is a very good depth option to go and play with the Wolves and help some of the kids coming along.
For an organization in the position of the Carolina Hurricanes, having good depth players in the AHL and within the team to go deeper into the playoffs and cope with injuries and Covid outbreaks could be the difference between winning a series and going home. With the Hurricanes contending, it is never a bad thing to have an extra defenseman in the farm with Chicago that has plenty of NHL experience.
Now, as I mentioned, this will open a buyout window for the Carolina Hurricanes. With the team having roughly $2 million in cap space, this window will be somewhat important. Carolina will be able to buy out any player that makes more than $4 million against the cap. That means there will be chances to get compliant with the salary cap using this window. The player has to have been on the roster at last season’s trade deadline, but that isn’t an issue.