Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 06/30/11 at 04:33 PM ET
Jussi Jokinen finally agreed to a three-year contract renewal with Carolina valued at $3M per season. Barring a really unusual turn of events, that should be it for re-signing UFA regulars. Erik Cole is still expected to try the waters tomorrow when the free agent market opens.
Forward Nick Dodge and defenseman Bryan Rodney and Casey Borer should re-sign, too, but they’re not for the big team. It doesn’t look like the organization has interest in keeping UFA defenseman Zack FitzGerald. UFA goalie Justin Pogge was not given a qualifying offer.
Jokinen’s salary turns out to be a bit more than I thought it would. For a while, it looked like his agent and Jim Rutherford were miles apart, but as negotiations heated up, I guessed that he would eventually sign for something like $2.75M. In today’s market, this isn’t an overpayment at all, even if I was expecting it to be less. If he had gone on the market, he might have seen offers of $4M or more.
The Canes will still have to go big tomorrow to find an Erik Cole replacement, and they’ll have to get some of the UFAs for Charlotte re-signed. They’ll have to pick one of many FA goalies to be the #2 guy behind Cam Ward. They’ll have to get RFA Brandon Sutter under contract, and that might happen today.
Brandon Sutter, I’m guessing, will sign a three-year deal valued at $3.5M per season.
We already know that goalie Justin Peters will be down in Charlotte. We can safely assume that RFA defenseman Derek Joslin will re-sign for $550k a season. We can assume that Zac Dalpe and Zach Boychuk (who are both already under contract) make the big team. I’m assuming that Jerome Samson gets sent back down to Charlotte.
If all of the above assumptions are true, using the Cap Calculator at capgeek.com, Carolina would have 18 regulars under contract with a total cap payroll of $45,991,666. They don’t usually carry a roster of 23, so we’ll say that they need four more to get to 22 and they need to spend about $2.5M just to reach the floor. Rutherford has indicated that the team’s budget will be $50M, so we’ll just say that they have $4M to play with.
Suddenly, that doesn’t seem like so much. Figure that one of the four will be a fourth line winger at the league minimum and another will be an extra, also at the league minimum. $1.1M down with two big roster spots to fill. $2.9M to get a backup goalie and a top nine forward.
I’ve heard the name Peter Budaj thrown around as a possible signing as a veteran goalie capable of playing 20 games or more. He made $1.25M for Colorado this past season, and I’ve always thought highly of him. I’d like to see him here. If we plug that salary into the equation, it leaves about $1.7M for a top-nine forward.
Let’s see Jimmy Rutherford break out his pimp hand of granite.
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David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.