As we are through the half-way point of the season, the Carolina Hurricanes sit in third place in the Metro Division. A first half full of ups and downs, the team has had some disappointing production and unexpectedly good production. Soon-to-be free agent, Stefan Noesen has continued to impress.
Free agency is looming for some of these Canes players and the team will not be able to fit everyone into the salary cap. After being selected in the first round of the 2011 NHL draft, Noesen is finally starting to play some solid, consistent hockey.
A player who is not afraid to go to the dirty areas and stick up for his teammates, the 30-year-old forward provides some important qualities for any contending team. His strong presence on the boards has provided an element to the lines he plays on all year.
In addition to his play on the board, the Texas native's positioning in front of the net has been a key to the success of the power play. Having scored 7 goals and 15 points on the man advantage last season, Noesen has picked up that pace and is on pace to put up career numbers all around.
Because of his age, the time is now to get the biggest contract and take advantage of his recent play. In his career, Noesen has yet to make $1 million dollars a year. Currently, his salary cap hit is just $762,500.
Teammates like Jesper Fast and Jordan Staal were able to earn well over $2 million this past summer and they produced less than Noesen offensively. Sure, Staal and Fast are great defensively but Noesen is no slouch in that category either.
Last year a player that scores far more but plays a physical game received a long-term contract for over $6 million. At 34 year old, Alex Killorn is past his prime and still made serious money. Noesen has to have noticed this and his agent certainly did.
A similar player to Noesen is Pittsburgh's Bryan Rust. Both players can score, play physical, and do the dirty work for the team. Just one year older than Noesen, Rust has earned over $5 million. He produces 20-25 goals a season, which seems to be in the future for the former Ottawa Senators draft choice. Both players currently have 11 goals.
I believe Noesen will be able to get 3 years for up to $2.5 million per season. That may not be in the cards for the Canes and that would be a shame.