Cover Photo Courtesy of Carolina Hurricanes
Since a deal wasn’t swung for a top six forward we must turn our eye to free agency to see if we can solve this issue or at least obtain some forward depth. The Canes can’t go wrong with either getting a depth center or a winger. The nature of free agency is we’ll most likely land a forward who is past his 35th birthday and we’ll have to pay a decent chunk to obtain their services. Upside is we can sign them to a one or two year deal to buy some time to let our forward prospects develop.
After looking over the Free Agent list I’d prefer Ron Francis package that Noah Hanifin kid with some prospects to get a younger forward that can help contribute for the next 4-6 years. However, we don’t always get what we want so I guess lets look at some of the guys linked to Carolina.
All salary information from @Cane_Matt and this fantastic google doc.
This could be an interesting homecoming for a guy who was traded away from Carolina in December of 2005. Vrbata is coming off a year where he scored 55 points (20 goals, 35 assists). He’s been slotted at commanding around $4 million a year which seems crazy for a 36 year old, but that’s the free market of the NHL.
Thoughts: Not wild about spending $4 million per for a guy that will take away some upside of the younger players. The way Coach Bill Peters mixes up the roster he will be able to play on the top three lines. The positive is he can provide the scoring we’ll need to help get over the hump. If he falls in the $2.5 million range then I think we should feel comfortable signing him to a one or two year deal.
Moore is the most intriguing of the bunch. Aside from being a wily veteran, Moore is coming off a 11 goal and 14 assist season, which isn’t bad for fourth line minutes. Combined with the fact he’s slotted to make in the mid $1 million range and it makes it a low risk singing.
Thoughts: Moore seems to be the best fit for the Hurricanes on the FA market. He can slide in and be an upgrade over Jay McClement and can do so on the ‘cheaper’ side of the market. I can see Moore being interchangeable and compete for minutes with Derek Ryan and Lucas Wallmark. Best part is the signing of Moore doesn’t shut the door on acquiring a top line center through the trade market. He won’t be the big sexy singing we’d all like, but he could help this team.
It would seem that Versteeg should be 36 by now but he just turned 31. He’s coming off a halfway decent season with Calgary (15 goals, 22 assists). I have a feeling he is looking for a 3-4 year contract and that’s not worth it for a guy who’s hasn’t scored more than 40 points in five years. Also, they’re predicting he’ll land in the $2.7 million range which I think is a little high for the production he provides.
Thoughts: I don’t see it happening as he fills the same role as Lee Stempniak. Versteeg played well in his brief stint in Carolina and there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t be able to pick up where he left off. But I don’t see the need to pay two third line wingers with a right handed shot (unless it’s Vrbata and his 50 points/year). However, if you could make it work then I wouldn’t complain because it would provide some healthy scoring on the third line.
Justin WIlliams- RW- 36 yr old
I know this isn’t happening and he hasn’t be linked to the team. I had to throw this out there for all the Caniacs who love mentioning his name when he’s been available the last few years. Williams will go to a contender for a discount and if he comes to Carolina it will be because we paid him the big bucks. We won’t pay him that sort of money.
In the end, my dream scenario is to pick up Matt Duchene and add Vrbata as an expensive depth winger. The addition of these two would provide consistent scoring on all four lines.