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Svechnikov open to discussing contract extension with Hurricanes

Forward could become RFA after next season; 'almost 100 percent' following ankle injury

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

Andrei Svechnikov said he is willing to discuss a contract extension with the Carolina Hurricanes before the start of next season but will leave the negotiations to his agent.

The 20-year-old forward will be entering the final season of a three-year, entry-level contract he signed July 1, 2018, and would be eligible to become a restricted free agent when it expires.

"I'm open," Svechnikov said Friday. "I think my agent (Mark Gandler) is going to do that job and I tell him I don't want to know anything [until] it's going to be done. So he's going to tell me when it's going to be done and I just don't want to worry about that."

The No. 2 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, Svechnikov was third on Carolina with 61 points (24 goals, 37 assists) in 68 games this season. He led the Hurricanes with four goals and was second with seven points in six postseason games but missed the final two games of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Boston Bruins because of a high right ankle sprain. Carolina lost the best-of-7 series in five games.

Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said Monday he doesn't have a timetable to discuss extensions with Svechnikov or defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after next season. Each became eligible to sign an extension July 13. 

A start date for the next NHL season has yet to be determined.

"Certainly, they are both important players for this organization, and it makes more sense to get to it sooner than later," Waddell said. "You're looking at two different types of contracts. One (Hamilton) is going to be an unrestricted free agent come next year after the upcoming year. Andrei will be coming off his entry-level deal. So it's two different kind of negotiations we're looking at. There's no timetable. There's no deadlines. They both have another year left. … We have a good relationship with both players. I fully expect both players to want to stay here."

Svechnikov said his ankle feels "almost 100 percent" and that he would have been able to play in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs if Carolina had advanced. Svechnikov initially feared his injury might be much worse, after he got tangled with Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara in Game 3.

"It was pretty scary," Svechnikov said. "I kind saw that moment on the video and I was like 'No way.' It was that hard. But I did an MRI there and everything feels fine. I think I got very lucky there."

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