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Team Reset

Hurricanes add Haula, retain Aho hoping to build off breakout season

Trade for Reimer, Forsling to boost depth in goal, on defense

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the Carolina Hurricanes:

The Carolina Hurricanes have been busy in their quest to build off a breakout season by retaining leading scorer Sebastian Aho, trading for forward Erik Haula, signing forward Ryan Dzingel and bringing back goalie Petr Mrazek.

The biggest move was matching the five-year, $42.27 million offer sheet given to Aho by the Montreal Canadiens on July 1. The 21-year-old forward, who was a restricted free agent, had an NHL career-high 83 points (30 goals, 53 assists) last season and led Carolina with 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to help the Hurricanes reach the Eastern Conference Final.

"He told us before and after (the offer sheet) that this was the place he wanted to be and keep building," Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said. "The offer sheet didn't have anything in it that would make [us] think twice about it."


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Carolina also made trades that will impact its roster this season. Defenseman Calvin de Haan and forward prospect Aleksi Saarela were traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Gustav Forsling and goalie Anton Forsberg on June 24. Three days later, the Hurricanes acquired Haula in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights to likely replace forward Micheal Ferland, who left via free agency. They also traded a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft to the Toronto Maple Leafs on June 22 for forward Patrick Marleau, a conditional first-round pick and a seventh-round selection in 2020. Marleau's contract was bought out five days later.

Mrazek agreed to a two-year contract July 1, one day after the Hurricanes acquired veteran goalie James Reimer in a trade with the Florida Panthers to replace Curtis McElhinney, who signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Carolina hopes to re-sign captain Justin Williams for his 19th NHL season. Williams, an unrestricted free agent who had 53 points (23 goals, 30 assists) last season, has not decided whether to retire or continue playing.

"I think he potentially could be leaning toward playing, but in the next couple weeks it will shake out," Waddell said. "If he plays, we feel he's going to play in Carolina."

Video: Aho remains with Hurricanes on new five-year contract

Here is what the Hurricanes look like today:


Key arrivals

Erik Haula, F: The Hurricanes acquired the 28-year-old for forward Nicolas Roy and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. Haula had seven points (two goals, five assists) in 15 games for Vegas before his season ended with a knee injury Nov. 6. ... Ryan Dzingel, F: The 27-year-old agreed to terms on a two-year contract July 12. He set personal NHL bests with 26 goals and 56 points in 78 games with the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets last season. ... James Reimer, G: Carolina traded goalie Scott Darling and a sixth-round pick in the 2020 draft to Florida for the 31-year-old, who was 13-12-5 with a 3.09 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in 36 games last season.  … Gustav Forsling, D: The 23-year-old had nine points (three goals, six assists) in 43 games with the Blackhawks in 2018-19. … Brian Gibbons, F: Signed a one-year, two-way contract July 4. The 31-year-old had 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 64 games with the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators.

Video: VGK@STL: Haula redirects shot past Allen


Key departures

Calvin de Haan, D: The 28-year-old had 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) in 74 regular-season games last season. He had surgery on his right shoulder in May and could miss the start of the season. ... Curtis McElhinney, G: He was 20-11-2 with a 2.58 GAA, .912 save percentage and two shutouts in 33 regular-season games. ... Scott Darling, G: The remaining two years on Darling's contract were bought out by the Panthers after he was traded for Reimer. … Greg McKegg, F: Agreed to terms with the New York Rangers on July 1. He had 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 41 regular-season games and scored two goals in 14 playoff games. ... Micheal Ferland, F: The 27-year-old had 40 points (17 goals, 23 assists) in 71 games last season. He signed a four-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks on July 10. 


On the cusp

Jake Bean, D: The 21-year-old defenseman had 44 points (13 goals, 31 assists) in his first professional season with Charlotte of the American Hockey League. The No. 13 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, Bean is expected to challenge for a roster spot. ... Julien Gauthier, F: Another first-round pick (No. 21) in 2016, Gauthier had 41 points (27 goals, 14 assists) in 75 games of his second season with Charlotte. The 21-year-old could be a critical addition to Carolina's forwards. ... Alex Nedeljkovic, G: Carolina's second-round pick (No. 37) in the 2014 NHL Draft led AHL goalies in games (51), wins (34) and GAA (2.26) last season. The four-year AHL veteran won the Aldege "Baz" Bastien Memorial Award as the league's best goalie in 2018-19. 


What they still need 

A veteran defenseman and secondary goal scoring. The Hurricanes scored 243 goals in 2018-19, an 18-goal improvement from the previous season, but could use better depth among the bottom-six forwards.


Fantasy focus

Forward Andrei Svechnikov scored 20 goals as a rookie despite playing mostly on the second or third line. He dealt with an injury in the playoffs but made an impact with five points (three goals, two assists) in nine games. There were plenty of glimpses of Svechnikov's potential, and more frequent usage with top forwards Aho and/or Teuvo Teravainen would go a long way. Don't let all the improvements by other Metropolitan Division teams distract you from Svechnikov being a glaring fantasy breakout candidate. -- Pete Jensen

Video: CAR@WSH, Gm1: Svechnikov rips home one-timer


Projected lineup

Andrei Svechnikov -- Sebastian Aho -- Teuvo Teravainen

Ryan Dzingel -- Jordan Staal -- Justin Williams

Warren Foegele -- Erik Haula -- Nino Niederreiter

Jordan Martinook -- Lucas Wallmark -- Brock McGinn

Jaccob Slavin -- Dougie Hamilton

Brett Pesce -- Justin Faulk

Gustav Forsling -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Petr Mrazek

James Reimer


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