The top player in the mid-August free agent class is off the board as the Hurricanes announced that they have signed defenseman Chase Priskie to a two-year, entry-level contract. The deal will pay him the maximum $925K at the NHL level (including signing bonuses) and $70K in the minors, also the max for an entry-level pact. GM Don Waddell released the following statement:
Chase was one of the best defensemen in college hockey last season. We believe he has a bright future in the NHL, and we’re thrilled that he has chosen to come to Carolina.
Priskie was a sixth-round pick of Washington (177th overall) back in 2016 following his freshman campaign at Quinnipiac. The Capitals made an effort to sign him following his junior year in 2017-18 but the 23-year-old opted to return for his senior season instead. It turned out to be a wise decision as he posted career highs across the board offensively with 17 goals and 22 assists in just 36 games, making him one of the higher scoring defenders at the Division I level. He was also among the ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Award.
Washington was right up against the 50-contract limit last season which took away any chance of them signing Priskie and burning the first year of his deal right away as an enticement. Not surprisingly, he elected to wait a little longer and opted to become a free agent which only was made official on Friday. The signing gives Carolina a capable replacement for Adam Fox, a former prospect who indicated he had no intention of signing with them, resulting in the Hurricanes trading him to the Rangers earlier this offseason.
It’s believed that Priskie was looking to sign somewhere where an NHL opportunity would present itself fairly quickly. On the surface, Carolina doesn’t appear to have that situation as the team already has Dougie Hamilton, Brett Pesce, Justin Faulk, and Trevor van Riemsdyk as right-hand shots like Priskie is. It’s certainly possible that Carolina could opt to trade one of those defenders (a move that could free up some cap room to re-sign winger Justin Williams if the veteran decides to play another year) but as things stand, it appears that Priskie will have to wait a little while before getting an NHL opportunity.