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Hurricanes’ Offseason Moves Make Them a Force to be Reckoned With

By: Sarah Overton

(Photo courtesy Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Carolina Hurricanes are gearing up for an action-packed 2023-24 NHL season with an array of exciting off-season moves. In an effort to solidify their roster and build on their recent successes, the Hurricanes made several key re-signings and acquisitions to bolster their lineup.

Jordan Staal - Center

The Hurricanes made a resounding statement by re-signing their longtime captain, Jordan Staal, to a four-year $11.6 million contract extension. Known for his exceptional leadership on and off the ice, Staal's return ensures continuity and stability for the team. Staal recorded 34 points in 81 regular season games and eight points in 15 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Hurricanes last season. His veteran presence and unwavering commitment to the Hurricanes' success make him an invaluable asset in their quest for the Stanley Cup.

Jesper Fast - Right Wing

On July 1, the Hurricanes re-signed talented forward Jesper Fast to a two-year, $4.8 million contract extension. Fast had 67 points in 75 regular season games with the Hurricanes last year and put up 12 points in 15 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Fast also led the team with six goals during the playoffs last year. Jesper Fast's re-signing adds depth and experience to the right-wing position. His speed, defensive acumen, and ability to chip in offensively make him an ideal fit for the Hurricanes' forward group.

Antti Raanta - Goaltender

Antti Raanta signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract extension with the Hurricanes on July 1. Raanta had a 19-3-3 record last season and a .910 save percentage in 27 games. He also recorded four shutouts. Raanta currently holds the Hurricanes’ franchise record for the longest point streak by a goalie when he went 12-0-1 from Dec. 17, 2022 to March 3, 2023.

Michael Bunting - Left Wing

(Photo courtesy Gavin Napier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Michael Bunting, a skilled left-winger who showcased his goal-scoring abilities last season, signed a three-year, $13.5 million contract with the Hurricanes on July 1. Bunting played last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he scored 23 goals and 26 assists in 82 regular season games. His physical presence on the ice matches Carolina’s forechecking style and should complement the team's existing offensive players.

Dmitry Orlov - Defenseman

On July 1, the Hurricanes signed defenseman Dmitry Orlov to a two-year, $15.5 million contract. Orlov played last season with the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals, where he put up 36 points in 66 games. The Hurricanes’ general manager, Don Waddell, described Orlov as “...the best available defenseman on the free agency market.” Orlov is a player known for his physicality and defensive prowess and should strengthen the Canes’ defense significantly.

Frederik Andersen - Goaltender

The Hurricanes re-signed goaltender Frederik Andersen to a two-year, $6.8 million contract extension on July 1. Andersen had a 21-11-1 record and a .903 save percentage in 33 regular season games last year. In the playoffs, Andersen was also ranked first in goals-against average and second in save percentage among all NHL goalies with at least two playoff games. Andersen has played solidly for the Hurricanes over the last two seasons alongside Carolina’s other netminders and has proven his ability to excel in high-stakes situations.

Griffin Mendel - Defenseman

The Hurricanes signed young defenseman Griffin Mendel to a one-year, entry-level deal on July 3. Mendel played with the Canes’ former AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, last season, where he scored 19 points in 72 AHL games. He was ranked fourth in the AHL for goals among rookie defensemen. Mendel played five seasons in the NCAA for the University of Denver and Quinnipiac University.

Dylan Coghlan - Defenseman

(Photo courtesy Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images)

After being the Hurricanes’ healthy extra for the majority of the 2022-23 NHL season, Dylan Coghlan signed a one-year, $850,000 contract extension on July 5. Coghlan skated in 17 games with the Hurricanes last season and recorded three assists. The defenseman also scored two goals and one assist in five AHL games with the Chicago Wolves last season.

Brendan Lemieux - Left Wing

Carolina welcomed the addition of winger Brendan Lemieux on July 11. Lemieux signed a one-year, $800,000 contract with the Hurricanes and brings a physical presence and agitating style of play to the team. Lemieux spent last season with the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers and scored nine points in 45 games.

Tony DeAngelo - Defenseman

The Hurricanes signed Tony DeAngelo to a one-year, $1.675 contract on July 24. The defenseman played for Carolina in the 2021-22 NHL season before he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. DeAngelo recorded 11 goals and 31 assists in 70 games with the Flyers in the 2022-23 season.

Sebastian Aho - Center

Carolina fans can breathe a sigh of relief as the Hurricanes managed to retain their star center, Sebastian Aho. The Canes re-signed Aho to an eight-year, $78 million contract extension on July 26. Starting next year, Aho will receive an average-annual value (AAV) of $9.75 million through the 2031-32 season. After several impressive seasons, Aho's return solidifies the team's offensive prowess. Last season, Aho had 36 goals and 31 assists in 75 regular season games for the Hurricanes. He also owns the franchise records for the most career playoff goals, assists, and points, with 59 points in 63 Stanley Cup Playoff games. His dynamic playmaking ability and goal-scoring skill make him a constant threat on the ice.

As the Carolina Hurricanes gear up for the 2023-24 season, the management's offseason moves reflect a well-thought-out strategy to build a competitive and well-rounded roster. With a combination of seasoned veterans and promising newcomers, the Hurricanes are eager to make a strong push in the upcoming NHL season and compete for the coveted Stanley Cup.

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