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Tweetmail No. 114: Informals, Salaries & Expansion

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on in which I take your Twitter questions about the Carolina Hurricanes or other assorted topics and answer them in mailbag form. Hopefully, the final product is insightful to some degree, and maybe we have some fun along the way.

Let’s get to it.

Informal skates will begin during the last week of August at Raleigh Center Ice, which means we are less than four weeks away from seeing Hurricanes hockey players doing hockey things on the ice(!). Has the summer flown by or is it just me? Anyway, it’s exciting to turn the calendar to a new month and see hockey on the schedule. These informal skates are just that; they’re organized by the players and are completely optional, but many use the on-ice training as a way to get up to speed before camp begins in mid-September.

Speaking on RCI, have you seen what’s been done to the place? Facelifts have already begun with a fresh coat of exterior paint and a revamped entrance. Inside you’ll find a drastically different lobby, which includes a new seating area that looks into the rink and additional seating along an opposite wall. Finally, gone is the orange and blue on the walls inside the rink, replaced with a more Hurricanes-esque gray.

I’ll be on vacation the week that informal skates begin, but I’m sure I’ll see some familiar faces around as we get into September.

The most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement outlines the stipulations for retaining a portion of a player’s salary in a transaction. For instance, a team can retain no more than three players’ salaries at a time. The Hurricanes currently have no contracts with retained salary on the books after three contracts – Tuomo Ruutu (traded to New Jersey in 2014), Jay Harrison (traded to Winnipeg in 2014) and Eric Staal (traded to the Rangers in February) – dropped off at the end of the 2015-16 season.

I plan on diving into this more deeply at a later time, but here are my initial thoughts on the NHL’s 31st franchise and what that means for the Hurricanes moving forward.

First, I think it’s a bold and heady move for the NHL to be the first sports league to place a team in Las Vegas. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the NBA and NFL to follow suit within the next 10 years. Good on the NHL for being the trailblazers in that department. It had to happen, and T-Mobile Arena looks to be an incredible venue. How many of you will make Las Vegas a road trip to see the Hurricanes in the 2017-18 season?

Now for the expansion draft, which will take place in June of next year. Here are some basic provisions:

  • Clubs will have two options for protecting players: seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender OR eight skaters (forward/defensemen) and one goaltender
  • Las Vegas must select one player from each club for a total of 30 players; positionally, Vegas is required to select 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders

Obviously there are plenty more wrinkles to the expansion draft process, but these are the two most basic and vital of the proceedings. So what does it all mean? The Hurricanes are going to lose a player to Las Vegas, obviously. One of Cam Ward or Eddie Lack will have to be exposed for potential selection. And while a number of young defensemen will be exempt from selection because they will be first- or second-year pros, a young(er) forward or defenseman – a Phil Di Giuseppe or a Ryan Murphy, for instance – may have to be exposed.

This, of course, is nowhere near a deep dive of what we could do with this subject. And there is still almost a year remaining for the clubs to finalize their protection lists ahead of the expansion draft.

African or European?

(I can’t believe this question took 114 Tweetmails to answer.)


Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you’d like answered or you have an idea for what the Las Vegas franchise should be named, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.

Michael Smith
MICHAEL SMITH is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.

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