The Hurricanes have reached an agreement with their final arbitration-eligible player as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link) that they’ve signed defenseman Maxime Lajoie to a one-year, two-way deal. The contract will pay $750K in the NHL, $125K in the AHL, and has a total guarantee of $200K.
The 24-year-old saw plenty of NHL action with Ottawa back in 2018-19 but has predominantly been in the minors since then. Last season, Lajoie played in 60 games with AHL Chicago, scoring four goals along with 29 assists. He also got into five games with Carolina where he was held off the scoresheet while averaging 12:32 per contest.
Looking ahead to next season, it’s likely that Lajoie will have a similar role with Carolina, one that sees him start in the minors (as long as he clears waivers in training camp) and then is recalled when injuries arise. He will need to play in 13 NHL games in 2022-23 for the Hurricanes to retain his RFA rights; if he plays fewer games than that, he’ll be eligible for Group Six unrestricted free agency.
Once Carolina officially announces the deal, the clock will begin to tick on their second buyout window which will open up three days after the deal is made official and last for 48 hours. The Hurricanes have roughly $1.8MM in cap space per CapFriendly and still need to re-sign Martin Necas who didn’t file for arbitration last month. Necas will undoubtedly make more than that which will create a bit of a cap crunch for the team so that window could be of interest to them. A player needs to make $4MM and have been in the organization at the trade deadline to be eligible to be bought out this route. Worth noting, defenseman Jake Gardiner – who missed all of last season with back and hip issues – makes $4.05MM and has been medically cleared to return for next season. On the surface, he could be a potential candidate to be bought out of the final year of his deal once the buyout window reopens for them.