The Carolina Hurricanes have agreed to terms with defenseman Maxime Lajoie, signing him to a one-year, two-way contract. The deal will pay $750K at the NHL level, $75K at the AHL level and comes with a minor league guarantee of $100K.
Lajoie, 23, notably stepped into the Hurricanes lineup in the postseason, making his debut with the team against the Nashville Predators in the first round. The young defenseman had played just six NHL games since his breakout season in 2018-19, when he surprisingly made the Ottawa Senators roster out of camp and played in 56 games.
Though he has been limited to mostly minor league duty since, there’s still NHL upside in the young defenseman, as shown by the strong performance he had with the Chicago Wolves this year. In 27 AHL games, he posted 21 points, leading all Wolves defensemen.
There’s little chance that Lajoie finds his way into the NHL lineup this season unless massive injury troubles hit the Hurricanes—they added Ian Cole, Ethan Bear, Anthony DeAngelo and Brendan Smith in the offseason—but he can keep developing in a strong AHL program and potentially push for a spot down the road.
Of course, there are waivers to consider, as Lajoie is not exempt and would need to clear in order to be sent to the minor leagues. That wasn’t a problem last season, when he cleared for the Ottawa Senators (only to be traded a day later), but there’s always a chance that someone decides he’s worth a claim this time around.