The Carolina Hurricanes expect forward Martin Necas to sign a new contract and be ready for the start of preseason training camp.
And, president and general manager Don Waddell said Thursday, the Canes will have the money under the NHL salary cap to make it happen.
Necas, a former Carolina first-round pick, is a restricted free agent and has been the source of various speculation around the league, including possible trades or even an offer sheet from another team.
But Waddell said negotiations could end with a shorter transition deal for Necas. Although Waddell didn’t elaborate, it’s believed a potential deal could last two years and around $3 million per season.
“We talk almost daily and it’s getting closer,” Waddell said. “I can only speak from my side, but it will happen.”
According to CapFriendly com, which tracks NHL player salaries, the Hurricanes had $1.88 million in cap space available Thursday.
The Canes are scheduled to have a salary arbitration hearing with defenseman Maxime Lajoie on August 9. Waddell said Thursday he expects a settlement with Lajoie, a restricted free agent, before the arbitration hearing.
Lajoie signed a one-year bilateral contract with Carolina last year that paid $750,000 at the NHL level or $75,000 at the AHL level. He played five games for the Canes last season, spending most of the year with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves.
Reaching a settlement with Lajoie would give the Hurricanes a buyout window, Waddell said. He didn’t say if the team would use the buyout, but it could be used to free up cap space.
“A buyout window is only for a player who earns more than $4 million,” Waddell said. “But if we don’t do anything, everything will be fine. It will be tight but it will be fine. »
Canes defenseman Jake Gardiner was placed on long-term injured reserve (LTIR) last season after undergoing hip and back surgery. Gardiner, who was medically cleared to return to hockey this season, has one year left on his contract with a cap of $4.05 million.
The Canes, like many teams, revamped part of their roster this offseason, losing forwards Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter, and defenseman Tony DeAngelo. They traded for defender Brent Burns, a former Norris Trophy winner with San Jose, and forward Max Pacioretty, and signed forward Ondrej Kase to a one-year deal for $1.5 million.
On signing Kase, Waddell said: “He’s had a few injuries but if you look at his points per minute when he’s been playing it’s very good. His analyzes are solid in all parts of the ice. We just think it’s very low risk with a lot of upside potential.
Waddell said the roster for next season was pretty much set, although he didn’t rule out other moves.
“We’re still talking,” Waddell said. “We are talking with some teams. You always want to be in the conversation. The last thing I want is for someone to get traded where I say, “Aw, I wish I’d shot him or known he was in the market.” You try to stay in touch.
Waddell meets with the Centennial Authority
Waddell attended a Centennial Authority board meeting Thursday at the PNC Arena. The arena naming rights deal ends this month and Waddell said, “We are currently in heavy negotiations with several companies.”
Waddell said PNC Bank is one of the companies involved but did not name others.
Waddell also said he continued his lobbying efforts to legalize online sports betting in North Carolina. A gambling bill fell through in recent legislative sessions of the General Assembly, at a time when proposed renovation plans for the PNC Arena included the opening of a sportsbook in the arena.
“I’ve learned a lot about politics over the past six months,” Waddell said. “Our goal is to try to continue to explain why this not only benefits this region, but the entire state and the economic impact it can have for the entire state.”
Waddell made some general comments to The Authority Thursday about the Hurricanes and the 2022-23 season. He noted the NHL’s salary cap, saying, “If there was no cap, we’d still be spending. Our owner (Tom Dundon) is very competitive and wants to win.
This story was originally published August 4, 2022 5:14 p.m.