2022 NHL Carolina Hurricanes Free Agent Tracker for UFA, FRG

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Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck (16) returns to the bench after scoring against New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) during the second period of Game 6 of a playoff series second round of the Stanley Cup of NHL hockey on Saturday, May 28, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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The Carolina Hurricanes, after setting franchise records for wins and points in 2021-22, have important roster decisions to make in the offseason.

Among the unrestricted free agents: forwards Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter. Defenseman Tony DeAngelo and forward Martin Necas are among the restricted free agents.

NHL free agency begins July 13. The league announced Thursday that the salary cap will be $82.5 million in 2022-23, an increase of $1 million from this season.

The News & Observer will keep track of signings, additions and departures.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Attackers

Vincent Trocheck

Age: 28.. Height: 5-10. Lester: 183. Shots: Right.

2021-22: 81 games, 21 goals, 30 assists, 51 points, plus-21 over/under

Target reached in 2021-22: $4.75 million.

The Canes expected more offensive production from their second-line center, but he was not lacking in effort, competitive drive and fighting spirit as a 200-footer. Also had 10 points in 14 playoff games.

More: One of four NHL players with at least 50 points and 180 hits, and led Canes forward in blocked shots. Earned 54.6% on draws. Gruntly play his game.

Less: Often found in the middle of scrums, he picked up 78 penalty minutes, second only to Andrei Svechnikov among forwards.

Nino Niederreiter

Age: 29. Height: 6-2. Lester: 218. Shots: Left.

2021-22: 75 games, 24 goals, 20 assists, 44 points, plus-29 over/under.

Target reached in 2021-22: $5.25 million.

Joined center Jordan Staal and right-winger Jesper Fast to give Canes their most consistent line. His 24 goals were one of his career highs and his plus-29 plus/minus score a career high.

More: Has a physical presence in net and on the forecheck, and has scored five game-winning goals this season. Of his 24 goals, 20 have come at even strength.

Less: His playoff production in four seasons with Canes has been negligible: 43 games, seven goals, 12 points.

Max Domi

Age: 27. Height: 5-10. Lester: 192. Shots: Left.

2021-22 (with rods): 19 games, two goals, five assists, seven points, plus-8 plus/minus.

Target reached in 2021-22: $5.3 million.

Traded to the Canes on March 21 from the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of a three-team deal that includes Florida, he had to catch up on learning the Canes systems. Became an unexpected hero in Game 7 against the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs, with two goals and an assist.

More: The versatile striker can be used up and down the lineup and plays with some tenacity. The former Arizona first-round pick sees the ice well and can make great passes.

Less: His game was sometimes good, sometimes indifferent with the Canes. Could disappear in some games and Canes was hoping for a more physical game.

Derek Stepan

Age: 31. Height: 5-11. Lester: 196. Shots: Right.

2021-22: 58 games, 9 goals, 10 assists, 19 points. Even more/less.

Target reached in 2021-22: $1.35 million

The veteran, playing his 12th season in the league on a one-year contract, played 58 games for the Canes, usually as a fourth-line center. He mentored young players like Seth Jarvis and Steven Lorentz.

More: Low maintenance player that does everything it’s asked to do. Responsible in the defensive zone. Played over 900 regular season and playoff games at age 31.

Less: Canes signed him for his experience and skill, but used him in just three playoff games, all against Boston.

Defenders

Ian Cole

Age: 33. Height : 6-1. Lester: 225. Shots: Left.

2021-22: 75 games, 2 goals, 17 assists, 19 points, plus-15 plus/minus.

Target reached in 2021-22: $2.9 million.

A two-time Stanley Cup winner with Pittsburgh, he gave the Canes a solid third-pair D player with experience and helped Carolina lead the NHL on the penalty kill. Finished second on team in blocked shots (104) and fifth in hits (110).

More: Plays a physical brand of hockey. Finished third over Canes in reduced time per game (2:30). Scored a game-winning goal in the playoffs against the Rangers.

Less: Had a team-record 83 penalty minutes in the regular season and several minors proved to be momentum killers for the Canes.

Brendan Smith

Age: 33. Height: 6-2. Lester: 200. Shots: Left

2021-22: 45 games, 4 goals, 4 assists, 8 points, plus-6 plus/minus.

Target reached in 2021-22: $800,000.

The Canes signed the free agent to a one-year contract last year and brought in a D-man who was tough, delivered big hits and dropped the gloves when needed. Missed 10 games in late February and early March after suffering a fractured skull after being hit behind the ear by a shot.

More: A fearless guy. Despite the injury, Smith did not change his game after returning and fought Washington slugger Tom Wilson.

Less: Has lost speed over the years and seems to wear out in games.

Restricted Free Agents

Attackers

Martin Necas

Age: 23. Height: 6-2, Lester: 189. Shots: Right

2021-22: 78 games, 14 goals, 26 assists, 40 points, plus-5 plus-/minus.

Target reached in 2021-22: $863,333.

The Canes’ first-round pick in the 2017 draft, he was used on the right wing in his three full seasons in the NHL. Was drafted as a center out of Czechia and wants a shot through the middle, and Brind’Amour doesn’t seem totally against the idea

More: He’s still young and the kid can fly. Give it some ice and it can produce spectacular sets.

Less: The speed and competence of Necas are at the top but the expected production has not been there. Non-factor of the 2022 playoffs (0 goals, 5 assists.).

*Steven Lorentz

Age: 26. Height: 6-3. Lester: 192. Shots: Left

2021-22: 67 games, 8 goals, 5 assists, 13 points. Plus-1 plus/minus.

Target reached in 2021-22: $725,000

The former seventh-round draft pick has played 112 games over the past two seasons in a fourth-line role, with a career-high 67 this year.

More: Uses his size well to be a physical and effective forechecker. An all-effort type, he had 67 hits and 24 takeouts while averaging 10:53 in ice time.

Less: While creating his share of offensive chances, he needs to be a better finisher around the net.

Defenders

*Tony DeAngelo

Age: 26. Height: 5-11. Lester: 180. Shots: Right.

2021-22: 64 games, 10 goals, 41 assists, 51 points, plus-30 plus/minus.

Target reached in 2021-22: $1 million.

While he was a controversial free agent signing, he delivered on the ice. Set Hurricanes records for single-season assists and points by a D-man. Second on the plus/minus rods when he was usually placed with Jaccob Slavin on the top D pair.

More: His defensive game was better than expected. Clever passer who finished second in power-play assists (18). Scored the “Gordie Howe hat trick” (goal, assist, fight) against the Blackhawks early in the season, the first for a Canes player since 2011-12.

Less: A combative type, he tends to lose his temper and concentration at times, especially in road games.

*Ethan Bear

Age: 24. Height: 5-11. Lester: 197. Shots: Right.

2021-22: 58 games, 5 goals, 9 assists, 14 points, Plus-1 plus/minus.

Target reached in 2021-22: $2 million.

The Canes traded for Bear, sending forward Warren Foegele to Edmonton, and expected more from the right-handed defenseman. Was paired with Jaccob Slavin and was the second unit quarterback on the power play in the first game of the season. The weather and the role of ice diminished as the season progressed.

More: Can add an offensive assist from fullback and scored two game-winning goals. The work in the defensive zone must be more consistent.

Less: His game slipped noticeably after being sidelined for six games with COVID-19 in late November. Did not participate in a playoff game.

* — eligible for arbitration

In more than 30 years at the N&O, Chip Alexander has covered the beats for NC State, UNC, Duke and East Carolina, and is now in his 11th season on the beat for the Carolina Hurricanes. Alexander, who has won numerous state and national writing awards, covered the Hurricanes’ move to North Carolina in 1997 and was part of The N&O’s coverage of the Cup run. Stanley 2006 Canes.

Christy J. Olson