The Carolina Hurricanes have decided to reward Cavan Fitzgerald with an NHL deal, signing the minor league defenseman to a two-year, two-way contract. The contract will start next season and carries an average annual value of $750K in the NHL. Fitzgerald is playing this season on an AHL contract with the Chicago Wolves, serving as an alternate captain. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell released a short statement:
Cavan has had a great season in a leadership role with the Wolves. This signing helps solidify our defensive depth over the next couple seasons.
Fitzgerald, 24, wasn’t given a qualifying offer from the San Jose Sharks after the 2018-19 season and ended up signing with the Charlotte Checkers, then Carolina’s AHL affiliate. In 25 games last year he recorded five points and was brought back to serve in a leadership role once again. With nine points in 21 games for Chicago, he had a little bit better production but overall played a responsible two-way game.
Undrafted, Fitzgerald signed his entry-level deal with the Sharks in 2015 before he had even left junior hockey. The former QMJHL defenseman never did see any NHL action with the Sharks, playing two seasons for the San Jose Barracuda instead. Now with this second deal, he’ll not only get a chance at an NHL call-up but also secure minor league guarantees of $85K in 2021-22 and $90K in 2022-23.