James O’Brien of NBC Sports took a closer look at reports by Tom Gulitti suggesting the Carolina Hurricanes and GM Don Waddell are eager to get extension talks under way with defenseman Dougie Hamilton. In fact, speculation is that they want to get a deal done before the start of this upcoming season. But, as O’Brien points out, there’s one not-so small matter the Hurricanes need to keep in mind during negotiations.
While the team would like to lock up Hamilton before the 2020-21 NHL season and the buzz is that Hamilton is looking for a long-term deal, there’s one small issue. Andrei Svechnikov needs a deal too.
Yes, Hamilton did watch players like Alex Pietrangelo, Torey Krug, Chris Tanev and Joel Edmundson get long-term deals. Yes, Hamilton is probably worth investing in. But, the Hurricanes have Svechnikov‘s entry-level contract ending after this season. That’s going to affect things.
Waddell is also hopeful that he’ll get Svechnikov signed to an extension soon and has openly talked about his desire to keep him around a long, long time. It’s not to say that the Hurricanes can’t sign both a potential Norris Trophy defenseman and a top-10 forward to bigger deals, but it will require some additional leg work.
Waddell has already admitted that with the flat cap for the next two years, term could be an issue. He seems potentially hesitant to pull the trigger on any big-time long-term deals, let alone two of them. The question then becomes, “Who is the priority?’
Hurricanes Need to Tread Carefully
Let’s say Waddell decides not to hand out two big and lengthy contracts as teams, including the Hurricanes struggle financially to make ends meet. Who gets the short-term deal and who gets the big extension?
Hamilton makes $5.75 million and will get a raise. Would the Hurricanes prefer to go with a bigger salary on a shorter term? It might make sense as the Hurricanes will be clear of contracts like that of James Reimer ($3.4 million), Petr Mrazek ($3.125 million) and Ryan Dzingel ($3.375 million) all at the end of this season. But, there’s a risk.
The downside of this plan is that Hamilton is an unrestricted free agent and they still have team control over Svechnikov’s next deal. If the Hurricanes only offer a short-term deal to Hamilton and that’s not to his liking, he can shop the market for a better offer. Meanwhile, Svecknikov could explode offensively and become one of the most expensive contracts in the NHL down the road.
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