Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov is now eligible for a contract extension as he will be entering the final year of his entry-level contract next season. While some of the potential top RFAs from the 2021 class may want to wait to sign to see what the financial picture looks like a year from now, the 20-year-old told NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti that he’s open to beginning talks this offseason.
Svechnikov’s second season was a strong one as he bested his rookie numbers despite the campaign getting shortened by the pandemic. Overall, he put up 24 goals and 37 assists in 61 games to finish third on the team in scoring while logging a little under 17 minutes per game. He played quite well in the playoffs too, collecting four goals and three assists in six games before suffering a high ankle sprain in the third game against Boston. There won’t be any lingering concerns from that as Svechnikov indicated that he has nearly fully recovered from the issue and would have been ready to return had Carolina moved on.
Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said that he doesn’t have a timetable in place to try to work out extensions for Svechnikov or defenseman Dougie Hamilton who is a year away from UFA eligibility:
Certainly, they are both important players for this organization, and it makes more sense to get to it sooner than later. 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.
While some top young players have signed extensions in recent years, last summer saw a shift towards players going to restricted free agency even without salary arbitration eligibility (including teammate Sebastian Aho). That was in a different financial landscape though, one that projected a continual increase in the salary cap but it may be a few years before there is any sizable jump now. Accordingly, Svechnikov may prefer to take a short-term deal (either this offseason or next) rather than lock in at a rate that could be below market value if revenues eventually work their way back up. Talks will likely begin at some point over the coming weeks but this may be a case where waiting until next season makes the most sense.