The Carolina Hurricanes signed a handful of players at the start of free agency on Saturday, but only one notable player to us hockey poolies, forward Justin Williams. Williams makes his return to a team that he has won a Stanley Cup with, signing a 2-year, $9 million deal to complete his return.
Williams, already a grizzled veteran at 35 years old, tried to help the Washington Capitals to a Stanley Cup last season, playing in 80 regular season games, scoring 24 goals and 48 points. Unfortunately, his playoff magic didn't appear for the Capitals, as they were dumped again by the Pittsburgh Penguins, the eventual champions.
The Hurricanes did well to sign on Williams, who has still been very productive in these last few seasons and he will certainly be a positive influence on the team's youth movement, with the likes of Sebastian Aho and Victor Rask emerging as quality talent on their roster.
|Jordan Staal||6.000||Justin Faulk||4.833||Scott Darling||4.150|
|Jeff Skinner||5.725||Noah Hanifin||0.925||Cam Ward||3.300|
|Justin Williams||4.500||Klas Dahlbeck||0.850|
|Victor Rask||4.000||Trevor Van Riemsdyk||0.825|
|Teuvo Teravainen||2.860||Brett Pesce||0.809|
|Elias Lindholm||2.700||Jaccob Slavin||0.743|
|Lee Stempniak||2.500||Trevor Carrick||0.670|
The Hurricanes have retained salary in deals, bought out some players, made a couple signings, but by my quick math, they are still just below the salary cap floor with this 23-man roster above. They are just barely below, mind you, and another key signing to a free agent or taking on a big contract via trade are still possibilities in the early part of this summer, so they shouldn't be too worried.
The defense on this team is still rather underrated and the new goaltending tandem of Scott Darling and Cam Ward could be enough to scare some teams in the Atlantic Division. Scoring depth will continue to be an issue, as they stand right now, but the Hurricanes are definitely moving in the right direction.