Carolina Hurricanes Should Expect Jake Guentzel to Hit the Open Market

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game One
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The NHL off-season is one final series away from beginning and the Carolina Hurricanes have many important questions to be answered this summer. New interim GM Eric Tulsky will have his hands full with his own free agents to retain, new free agent acquisitions. Of course, the first task will be the NHL Draft later this month.

Given the new position, Tulsky will be delayed in retaining some of his free agents but I would not be surprised to see someone like Jordan Martinook returning on a team-friendly contract in the coming weeks. One player that is sure to hit the free agent market is trade deadline prize, Jake Guentzel.

After spending 8 years in Pittsburgh, Guentzel arrived in Raleigh looking for another chance to win a Stanley Cup. Still, Guentzel's raw reaction to being traded revealed that he did not want to leave the organization that drafted him in the 2013 NHL Draft.

With Pittsburgh tied down to the old guard of players that brought them multiple titles, Guentzel does not appear to be headed back. The Canes will have some sorting to do themselves to figure out the salary cap space before targeting the big-money contracts.

For this reason alone, I would expect Guentzel to remain without a contract when the calendar flips from June to July 1st.

It is always difficult to know whether a player truly enjoys his time with a franchise and in a new community, especially for such a short time. Guentzel has said the right things and he's a professional. After all, he learned from the best in Sydney Crosby.

Part of the salary cap evaluations will be the future of Martin Necas. It appears the contract that Necas is looking to receive this summer will not be with Carolina. Management cannot afford all of the free agents and Guentzel has jumped Necas in priority.

Ultimately, the work with the RFA's, especially Necas, will need to be done quickly and by the NHL Draft for the Canes to have a real shot at keeping Guentzel in Raleigh.