The Carolina Hurricanes have made it very clear with their free-agent signings that they are going for it all this year. And, why shouldn’t they? It’s not like they are that far off.
The Hurricanes have made it five straight postseason visits counting this year’s conference finals loss. With more consistent goal-scoring and an uninjured Andrei Svechnikov, it may have ended a little differently last season. But, what could have been we’ll never know. Time to look ahead.
The signings this offseason have been important for the push for the Cup. The Hurricanes needed to be more physical and signing Lemieux shows that they were aware and addressed that concern.
They also added another offensive weapon in Michael Bunting who has averaged 56 points per season in his last two seasons in Toronto, and didn’t miss a game last year either. His play style should fit in nicely with Brind’Amour’s team.
You cannot forget to mention the addition of Dimitry Orlov, who more than makes up for the departures of de Haan and Gostisbehere. This deal more so than the previously mentioned two shows just how serious the Canes are about winning now.
As the team sits they have an empty roster spot and $2.5 million left in cap space. That would likely be enough to sign one Mr. Tony DeAngelo (if they had to). They could get him for a price tag matching their cap space after he departs from Philadelphia. The good news is that there is not a huge market for TDA and the Hurricanes can likely take their time on that one.
Another option would be one that you have likely heard by now, acquiring Erik Karlsson. As ideal as that would be, I highly doubt San Jose is going to retain any of that salary. Karlsson as of now is an $11.5 million cap space hit, a mere 4.6 times the current cap space the Hurricanes currently have. This means there would be some significant roster rearranging to make that acquisition.
So why is it so important that they go for it this year? Why now? Well, for one, the leadership of Staal and Burns is nice, but they aren’t getting any younger. By the time Burns’ and Staal’s contracts end, they will be 40 and 37 respectively. Beyond that, how much longer can they keep playing at the level they are and be as productive as they are?
Another reason is only 9 of the current 22-man roster are under contract after the 2023-2024 season. Some notable free agents include Aho, Teravainen, Necas, Martinook, and Jarvis. While it is likely Aho gets re-signed, still more than half the roster could change after this year just in free agency.
It would be ideal for some of the talented and fan favorites such as Jarvis to get paid. The problem is there is only going to be so much cap space for next year, and Javis is worth way more than the $894,167 he is due this year. If this core group of players is going to do it, this may be their last chance.