The Carolina Hurricanes had a disappointing ending to their 2019-20 season. They were eliminated in the first round by the Boston Bruins. The team decided to shake up their roster a little bit to try and be more competitive next season and for years to come. Clancy Golden and Alex Sorichetti will break down the Carolina Hurricanes offseason activity.
Carolina Hurricanes Offseason Acquisitions
The Carolina Hurricanes offseason was a relatively calm one. However, during the free agency period, they did have a few signings to help the organization. The team didn’t bring in any star players but they did bring in players that will improve the team overall.
The Hurricanes notably signed Jesper Fast from the New York Rangers. Fast was in poor form last season only recording 29 points in 69 games. However, Fast has shown strength as a leader for his team, having been an alternate captain for the Rangers for the past three seasons. Fast will be looking to fill the hole that was left with Williams retiring, as he fits the description of a heavy-hitting, fast-moving player who can create space for his teammates in the offensive end and help get the puck back on the backcheck.
On the defensive end of the ice, the Hurricanes brought in Joakim Ryan. Ryan is a heavy defenseman who can lay a strong hit, but hasn’t been in the best form in his career and will likely either play as a seventh defenseman or on the third defensive line for the Hurricanes. They also re-acquired Gustav Forsling who likely won’t be seen during the 2020-21 NHL or AHL seasons as the Hurricanes already have a large amount of depth in defense.
Carolina Hurricanes Offseason Key Losses
The team also experienced loss as they had to make room for their new signees. Two defensemen that were acquired via trade left. One is still a free agent, but will most likely not re-sign with the team and the other was traded to the Montreal Canadiens. Another notable thing that happened in the retirement of a veteran and leader to the team.
The most notable departure from the Hurricanes was former captain Justin Williams. Williams played for the team for eight seasons throughout his career and was aptly nicknamed, “Mr. Game 7” as he secured many winners for his teams during game sevens. He has won multiple Stanley Cup’s during his career, with his first being in 2006 with the Hurricanes. Williams will be missed as the lack of his veteran presence and defensive strategy will likely be felt.
As well, the Hurricanes saw Sami Vatanen depart and enter the free-agent market after he had just arrived at the team. Vatanen made good showings in the playoffs but had been injured for a long time before this point. Due to his relatively lackluster performance in his short tenure with the team, he is unlikely to get a contract from the Hurricanes in the free-agent period. Vatanen has been a very good defenseman in his career as he had successful stints with the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks. Whoever gets his services for the upcoming season will experience a player that contributes offensively while providing solid defense.
The Carolina Hurricanes defense core was very strong during the 2019-20 season. With lots of depth on the blue line, Joel Edmundson was expendable. The 2018-19 Stanley Cup winner with the St. Louis Blues got traded to the Hurricanes right before the 2019-20 season started. Edmundson benefited greatly from the trade as he had a career year. He scored seven goals and added 13 assists for 20 points.
His real value comes on the defensive end. Edmundson earned a +8 rating showing that when he is on the ice, his team scores more than the opposing team scores. Edmundson’s strong defensive presence and his ability to produce on the offensive makes the Canadiens decision a fantastic one. The Canadiens acquired Edmundson in the offseason for a fifth-round pick. Immediately, Edmundson signed a four-year contract with the Habs for $14 million. Edmundson will be in the Canadiens top six defensemen and will improve their team by a lot.
A Very Slow Offseason
It was definitely was not one of the more interesting offseasons for the Hurricanes. They lost three players who have had impactful careers with them. Justin Williams will definitely be missed by Hurricanes nation. Their prize of the offseason isn’t a shiny star player like every fanbase hopes for but they brought in good role players that should reason a warm welcome. Jesper Fast and Joakim Ryan will be solid additions to the Hurricanes and will look to help them bring another Stanley Cup back to Carolina.
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