Carolina Hurricanes Free Agency Preview: Top Defenders

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The Carolina Hurricanes Free Agency period is one that will see almost half the Hurricanes’ roster enter the free agency market should they not meet an agreement with the organization to sign a new contract. Having already taken a look at the forwards that could be entering the free agency market, now it is time to look at the Hurricanes’ defenders who could enter the free agency market, and who should be resigned? That’s what we are here to answer today with a look at some of the top Hurricanes’ defenders with expiring contracts.

Anthony DeAngelo

Tony DeAngelo was quite the controversial player when the Hurricanes signed him to a one-year contract after he was released from the New York Rangers due to many different racial issues arose from his behaviour. However, DeAngelo has seemingly done a 180° turn in his attitude as he now seems almost strictly focused on his game, a fact which shows in his stats from the past season. The 26-year-old defenseman managed to put up 51 points in the season, with 20 of them coming on the powerplay in which he was a first-line feature. He also managed to maintain a +/- rating of 30 throughout the season and saw himself move up to fill the hole that was left by Dougie Hamilton on the first line.

While fans should not be willing to forgive and forget what he has said and done, his defensive performances have made him an invaluable member of the Hurricanes’ defensive lineup, and as such fans can expect to see him playing as a Hurricanes’ defender for seasons to come.

Ethan Bear

While Ethan Bear may not have been a prominent feature in the Hurricanes’ lineup, the young defender is certainly able to develop and further his career, as well as possibly having shown himself to be a solid player during key moments of the game. Defensively, he is able to lay big hits, using his relatively small but muscular frame to lay out opposing players, as well as getting in between opposing players and the puck to shut them out and turn over possession to his team, and set up chances.

Due to his limited playing time and subpar performances, Bear might be offered a lower contract, but this Hurricanes’ defender is certainly deserving of another chance to show what he can do. He is only 25 years old and has plenty of time left in his career to piece together a more sustainable play style.

Ian Cole and Brendan Smith

Ian Cole and Brendan Smith have been the anchor line for the Hurricanes this past season, with both players filling the same type of role from the third line. When they come onto the ice their job is to lay big hits and shut down the oppositions scoring chances. Both of them have been fairly effective at this role, and both are veteran presences within the Hurricanes organization. It is likely that only one of these two players will be resigned to play in the NHL as a Hurricanes’ defender, while the other may be resigned, but will likely end up in the AHL in order to open a space for a younger defensive player in the lineup. The other drawback to both of these players is that they both spend a fair bit of time in the penalty box, often leaving their team at a disadvantage as they have to cover the penalty kill.

Other Hurricanes’ Defenders in Free Agency

The Hurricanes also have a fair few other defenders entering the free agency window with expiring contracts, including Joey Keane, Maxime Lajoie, Joshua Jacobs, and Tarmo Reunanen. All of these players are young prospects who could potentially make an impact in the NHL, which is helped by their recent Calder Cup win in the AHL. Thanks to their contributions in the AHL, they are likely to be offered contracts to continue on with the team for the next season.

The Hurricanes Free Agency window looks like one that will require a lot of contract negotiations, as the only position that the team is not at risk of losing players in, is with their NHL goalies. The Hurricanes’ defenders are a very deep group, and as such, not all of them will be resigned. There are many players entering the free agency market from all around the league, and the Hurricanes could look to have a fair bit of roster rotation in order to make another push for the Stanley Cup next season. Stick around on Overtime Heroics Hockey for more looks into the Hurricanes’ free agency window, and at possible NHL free agents from across the league.

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Having written with Overtime Heroics for two years as a variety writer, Alex Sorichetti now serves as a managing editor with the company.