June 01, 2012 9:03 AM
Every offseason for every team brings change, and the Checkers are no different.
Below is a list of players who played for the team this past season, categorized by free agent status. This list will be updated throughout the offseason as situations develop. The free agent period officially begins July 1, but teams are free to sign their own free agents before then.
Players categorized as unrestricted free agents are free to negotiate with other teams on July 1, while restricted free agents will remain property of the Hurricanes as long as they are presented with a qualifying offer by late June.
Zac Dalpe: One year left on his entry-level deal. Started each of the last two seasons in the NHL and will contend for a full-time job next season. Has one more season or 49 more NHL games played (whichever comes first) before waivers become neccessary for an AHL assignment.
Riley Nash: Has one year left on his deal and will not be subject to waiver restrictions next season until after his 75th game, should that occur. Was on track to play more than five games with the Hurricanes until injuries curtailed the second half of his season in Charlotte.
A.J. Jenks: On last year of entry-level contract originally signed with the Florida Panthers. Checking-line center showed some offensive ability after joining the Checkers via trade in January and could potentially feature more heavily next season depending on other roster decisions.
Justin Shugg: Twenty-year-old forward who split this season between Charlotte and Florida has two years left on his entry-level deal. Hurricanes were pleased with his progress throughout his rookie season and he is likely to fill a prominent scoring role on the Checkers in year two.
Jared Staal: On last year of entry-level deal and is on track to return to Charlotte following end-of-season loan spell to Providence. Will have chance to move up from checking role in third pro season.
Sean Dolan: Rookie impressed after signing a tryout contract in January, earning an AHL deal in March. Instantly became a top checking center and formed an effective pairing with Nicolas Blanchard on the team’s penalty kill while chipping in 10 points (5g, 5a) in his first 35 AHL games. UPDATE 5/14: Agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Charlotte.
Nicolas Blanchard: Completes his fifth season with the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate. Canes love his hard work and were planning to reward him with his first NHL recall prior to a concussion suffered late in the season. Defensive forward and top penalty killer would again fill a prominent leadership role if he returns. UPDATE 5/21: Agreed to terms on a two-year contract with Carolina.
Brody Sutter: Forward joined Checkers on amateur tryout at end of this season following conclusion of junior career with WHL Lethbridge, scoring one goal in four games. Hurricanes will make a decision on offering the 2011 seventh-round pick a contract this summer. UPDATE 6/1: Signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Carolina.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
Drayson Bowman: Perhaps most likely forward to graduate to full-time NHL role after spending career-high 37 games with Hurricanes last season. Assigning him to Checkers next season would come with a risk, as he will require waivers in his fourth pro season.
Zach Boychuk: Though he’s split his first three years between the NHL and AHL, his 76 NHL games combine to nearly one full season. Will hope to make next season his first full campaign in NHL, as he too would make a risky waiver placement should Hurricanes elect to assign him to Charlotte.
Evgenii Dadonov: Scored just three goals in 35 games after joining Charlotte via trade in January, but did chip in 16 assists and was a factor down the stretch, scoring five points in his last five games. Should he elect to not re-sign and play next season overseas, the Hurricanes would retain his NHL rights. Also subject to waivers.
Jerome Samson: Completed his fifth pro season by hitting the 20-goal mark for the fifth time. Has split last three seasons between the Hurricanes and the AHL and scored his first two NHL goals this past season.
Chris Terry: Though 16 goals were down from the previous season’s 34, beat his career high in assists by 17 and led Checkers in scoring with 59 points. Hurricanes were happy with his season and his increased commitment to off-ice work and conditioning, which put him in the mix for a late-season recall. Subject to waivers for first time.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
Chris Durno: Completed his ninth professional season, in which he served as one of the team’s alternate captains. Missed 23 games with a concussion in the second half but filled defensive and penalty-killing roles while in lineup. Versatile forward played both center and left wing.
Cedric McNicoll: Since joining the organization via trade in 2010, center has played primarily at the ECHL level. Has been a prolific scorer with the Florida Everblades and featured on the Checkers’ power play early this season despite playing on the fourth line. UPDATE 6/25: Did not receive a qualifying offer and will become an unrestricted free agent.
Matthew Pistilli: Undrafted free agent signing played entire season at the AHL level for first time in his career, setting a career high with 12 goals. Featured on the power play (five goals) and was one of the team’s top performers in the shootout (four goals, including two game-winners). Spent time on the fourth line but was first to jump up into scoring role when needed. UPDATE 6/25: Did not receive a qualifying offer and will become an unrestricted free agent.
Justin Soryal: Checkers’ penalty minutes leader with 164 tied his career high with 10 points (4g, 6a) while playing fourth-line duty. Filled leadership role in his fourth pro season prior to suffering a season-ending knee injury on March 11.
Brett Sutter: Checkers captain set AHL career highs in goals (13), assists (16) and points (29) while playing a career-high 16 games at the NHL level. Completed his fifth season and second with Charlotte, playing both at center and the wing while filling top role on penalty kill.
Matt Beca: AHL signing played seven games in his second season for the Checkers, earning one assist. Was the Everblades’ leading scorer with 60 points (21, 39a) in 62 games.
Gregory Hofmann: Nineteen-year-old who can play center or wing expressed interest in coming to North America at this time last year. Fourth-round pick in 2011 made impression at Hurricanes camps with speed and physical play. Spent last two seasons in native Switzerland.
Victor Rask: Second-round pick in 2011 (42nd overall) had a successful first season in North America with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, scoring 63 points (33g, 30a) in 64 games. May have joined Checkers at end of this season if not for injury that caused him to miss playoffs, but now seems poised to begin pro career.
Brett Bellemore: Shutdown blueliner has one year remaining on his second pro contract, a two-year deal signed in summer of 2011. Sixth-round draft pick in 2007 was one of team’s leaders on defense this season while playing all 76 games.
Michal Jordan: Went from rookie trying to break into the lineup in 2010-11 to key defenseman playing heavy minutes in all situations in year two. Two-way blueliner, a fourth-round pick in 2008, enters final year of entry-level contract.
Rasmus Rissanen: Sixth-round pick from 2009 impressed in first pro season as he went from occasional healthy scratch to one of team’s most dependable options in second half. Good skater with size and physical element has two seasons left on entry-level deal and should play even bigger role next season.
Joe Sova: Played limited role with Checkers in his rookie season, splitting the second half between Charlotte and ECHL Florida after arriving from the New Jersey Devils’ organization via January trade. Saw time on Checkers’ power play as a rookie and has two seasons left on entry level deal.
Bobby Sanguinetti: First-round pick in 2006 enjoyed stellar second half, scoring 44 points in his last 44 games to rank second on the team and third among all AHL defensemen in scoring. Should he elect to re-sign, will compete for a spot on the Hurricanes’ defense. Would be risky waiver placement if Canes brought him back but elected to return him to Charlotte. UPDATE 5/21: Agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Carolina.
Justin Krueger: Along with Rissanen, blossomed as shutdown defenseman in second half after rotating as healthy scratch early. Twenty-five-year old who qualified as rookie per AHL rules posted team-best, plus-16 rating, that was 11 points higher than any teammate. Spent the previous season playing in Switzerland and will represent Germany at the upcoming World Championship. UPDATE 6/1: Signed a one-year contract with Carolina.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
Mathieu Roy: One of the more experienced players on Charlotte’s roster this season, Roy tied his career high with six goals and led all Checkers with three shorthanded points (1g, 2a). Has played for a different organization in each of the past four seasons.
Ryan Donald: Filled a depth role in his only season with Charlotte, playing four games with the club on an AHL contract. Led ECHL Florida with 132 penalty minutes and ranked second with a plus-19 rating.
Chris Murray: AHL signing split the season between Charlotte and ECHL Florida, scoring two points (1g, 1a) in 14 games with the Checkers. Played a total of just 31 games due to various injuries.
Brian Dumoulin: Boston College standout, the Hurricanes’ second-round pick in 2009, joined the Checkers for the final three games but did not play. Will begin his pro career with either Charlotte or Carolina next season and could make a quick impact. UPDATE 6/22: Traded to Pittsburgh in package for Jordan Staal
Tommi Kivisto: Seventh-round draft pick in 2009 has played each of the last three seasons for Jokerit of the Finnish league. Already has a contract with the Hurricanes but not a lock to come to North America given glut of competition.
Austin Levi: Wrapped up junior career with OHL Plymouth and is set to turn pro next season. Third-round pick in 2010 brings good size (6-foot-4 and 205 pounds) and could yet develop offensive side to his game.
Beau Schmitz: Undrafted free agent from Plymouth recently signed first pro contract with Carolina at age 20. Will contend for spot on Checkers after scoring 54 points (14g, 40a) in 62 games, ranking third in the OHL with a plus-37 rating and serving as team captain this season.
John Muse: Boston College grad was effective as Checkers’ third option in his rookie season, going 10-3-2 with a 1.81 goals-against average, .941 save percentage and two shutouts in 15 AHL appearances. Numbers game forced him back to Florida, where he continued to post impressive numbers. UPDATE 6/7: Signed a one-year, two-way contract with Carolina
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
Mike Murphy: Completed third season with Hurricanes' top minor-league affiliate, splitting the starters’ duties for each of the last two. If he re-signs, could begin next season as the clear No. 1 option for first time depending on the organization’s other moves. UPDATE 5/22: Signed with Spartak Moscow of the Russian league (KHL).
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
Justin Peters: Shared starting duties with Murphy but became the No. 1 option down the stretch, starting each of the last four games. Was the AHL’s Goaltender of the Month in November and put in good performances with Carolina, including his first NHL shutout in February. Earned postseason praise from Rutherford and could return to NHL backup role.
Frederik Andersen: Six-foot-four, 225-pound goalie had a 1.67 goals-against average in 39 appearances with Swedish club Frolunda this season. Seventh-round pick in 2010 is set to represent his native Denmark at the World Championship. UPDATE 6/23: Andersen did not sign a contract with Carolina, re-entered the NHL draft and was chosen by the Anaheim Ducks.