With Max Pacioretty and his $7MM AAV eventually heading back to LTIR, the Hurricanes appear to be a team that will have ample cap space to make a move or two to upgrade for the stretch run. However, in his latest piece for The Athletic (subscription link), Cory Lavalette suggests that while on the surface, a rental to replace Pacioretty (a rental himself) might make sense, Carolina’s trade history suggests that they’re likelier to target someone signed beyond this season. Per CapFriendly, the Hurricanes only have $53.5MM in commitments for 2023-24 so it’s plausible that they could eye a longer-term piece which gives them considerably more options compared to teams that will need to be shopping for one-and-done players.
- Carolina Hurricanes forward Max Pacioretty received a major health setback when he tore his Achilles tendon for the second time in this league year. Per TSN’s Chris Johnston on the network’s Insider Trading program, Pacioretty travelled to Turku, Finland for the operation to have his Achilles repaired. Johnston reports that the timeline for his recovery is expected to be around eight-to-nine months, although there is always the lingering possibility that these injuries have a more permanent impact on Pacioretty’s playing future than Pacioretty and every NHL fan would hope for.
- The Carolina Hurricanes have announced that defenseman Jaccob Slavin has suffered a lower-body injury, and will miss tonight’s game against the New York Islanders. With Slavin out, the Hurricanes will be missing one of the NHL’s best defensive defensemen. Offseason trade acquisition Dylan Coghlan has moved into the lineup in Slavin’s place, and will have a chance to put some quality play forward in the absence of Carolina’s top blueliner.
5:04 PM: The Hurricanes have now officially announced the news.
4:55 PM: It turns out Pacioretty’s MRI was done today, not on Monday as originally reported. In what is absolutely awful news for both Pacioretty and hockey fans everywhere, the MRI revealed, as reported by Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer, that Pacioretty tore his right Achilles tendon, just two weeks after returning to action. It’s the same injury he suffered in August, and although no firm timeline has been released by the team, it will in all likelihood knock him out for the rest of the season.
This news likely confirms that Pacioretty will eventually end up placed on long-term injured reserve. While Pacioretty’s health and recovery will undoubtedly be the Hurricanes’ first priority here, this development does impact their roster-building plans for the rest of the season. The additional cap space afforded by a Pacioretty LTIR placement could have a significant impact on the rest of the team’s season and the trade market as a whole.
For Pacioretty, the priority will be getting his health back in a good place. The 34-year-old forward has played some of the best hockey of his career in recent years, but he has been limited to only sporadic availability due to injuries. With this bit of news, it’s clear he now faces another long recovery on his road back to the ice.
12:47 PM: After just five games, Max Pacioretty is back on injured reserve. The Carolina Hurricanes moved the veteran winger after he suffered a non-contact injury last night to the same leg that underwent surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon last summer.
The Hurricanes have not given a timeline for Pacioretty’s recovery, and according to Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer, won’t be making a determination until next week. They’ve moved his scheduled MRI to Monday.
It is brutal news for a player that worked so hard to come back, especially given how well he had fit into the Carolina lineup. Pacioretty had three goals in his first three games with the team, though was also held out for two games recently due to a lower-body injury.
If it is another torn Achilles, Pacioretty would be out for the rest of the season. Injuries have become something of a pattern for the 34-year-old in the back half of his career. A player once known for his durability and consistency, Pacioretty has now played just 44 games since the start of 2021-22.
Even worse, his contract will expire at the end of this season, making him an unrestricted free agent. If the injury is as serious as it seems, another months-long rehab will be a difficult pill to swallow, with no guarantee of a financial or competitive future.
For the Hurricanes, it could mean they suddenly have some extra cap flexibility to play with. Should Pacioretty head back to long-term injured reserve, the team could make any number of moves at the deadline. His entire $7MM salary could essentially be replaced if he is not going to return this season.
- There was a terrible scene in the dying seconds of tonight’s Carolina Hurricanes game. Forward Max Pacioretty, who just recently returned to the ice after surgery to repair a torn Achilles, needed to be helped off the ice after suffering a non-contact lower-body injury. The News and Observer’s Luke DeCock noted that the leg Pacioretty injured tonight was the same as where he had his Achilles injury, which is obviously not a good sign for Pacioretty and the Hurricanes whatsoever. But until the Hurricanes get a closer look at Pacioretty’s status, all anyone can do is hope this ends up simply being a minor scare, and not a potential setback in the recovery from his offseason surgery.
With all three goaltenders healthy, the Carolina Hurricanes had to make a decision. Since Pyotr Kochetkov is still waiver-exempt, he’s the one on the way out. The young netminder has been reassigned to the minor leagues, despite his strong performance so far this year.
This certainly won’t make many Hurricanes fans happy, as of the three – Kochetkov, Antti Raanta, and Frederik Andersen – there has been only one consistent presence. Andersen has a .903 save percentage in just ten appearances, while Raanta has an .894 despite having one of the strongest defensive teams in the league playing ahead of him.
Kochetkov, 23, has a .913 through 19 games, losing just four of them in regulation. That earned him a four-year extension a few months ago, one that locks him into a roster spot in the future.
Not yet, though, as he now heads back to the Chicago Wolves for the time being. The club will go with an Andersen-Raanta tandem.
If there’s a silver lining for Kochetkov fans, it’s that those veteran goaltenders have never really shown the ability to stay healthy for long. Their combined history suggests that the young netminder will be back up before long, and could very well be the starting goaltender again by the time the playoffs roll around.
- The Hurricanes won’t have Max Pacioretty in the lineup tonight while he is listed as doubtful tomorrow due to a lower-body injury per team reporter Walt Ruff (Twitter link). However, head coach Rod Brind’Amour indicated that he believes the winger’s injury isn’t believed to be too serious which suggests that Pacioretty shouldn’t be out much longer. He just returned from a torn Achilles earlier this month and was off to a good start with his new team with three goals in four games.
Carolina Hurricanes star forward Max Pacioretty just returned from a long injury-related absence, and with three goals in his first three games, it looked as though he’d fully put his health woes behind him. That assumption may have been a bit premature, though, as the Hurricanes have announced that Pacioretty will not return to tonight’s game due to a lower-body injury.
Thankfully, according to the Hurricanes, the injury is not related to the Achilles injury he just recovered from. But beyond that bit of information, what Pacioretty is exactly dealing with remains a mystery. Pacioretty has dealt with significant injury issues in recent years, managing to play in just 39 games last season. He had 37 points in that span, though, indicating just how valuable he can be when healthy. The Hurricanes will have to hope that this new injury is a relatively minor one.
The Hurricanes have been a top team in the Metropolitan Division all season long and have recently welcomed back some key veterans in Max Pacioretty and Frederik Andersen in recent days. Even with their current place atop the Metropolitan Division though, don’t expect them to be shopping at the top of the market before the March 3rd trade deadline. GM Don Waddell told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that the team will be looking to add depth both on the back end and up front over the coming weeks. Carolina has a little over $2.2MM in LTIR room per CapFriendly and unlike regular cap space, that doesn’t accrue by the day; they have that much to spend on full-season money now, on deadline day, or anytime in between. Accordingly, they’re in a spot where they don’t have to wait until closer to the deadline for cap reasons so it’s possible that they’ll look to shop for an early bargain on the trade market.
Andersen has been out since early November when he suffered an injury against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s played just eight games this season and has a .891 save percentage. Despite that less-than-ideal save percentage, though, Andersen did manage to post a 5-3 record in that eight-game span.
Arriving in Carolina in the summer of 2021, Andersen had a bounce-back season for the ages last year. After ceding his starting role in Toronto to Jack Campbell and posting a .895 save percentage in his final year as a Maple Leaf, Andersen signed a two-year, $4.5MM AAV deal to be the starter in Carolina.
Carolina turned to Andersen, a now-33-year-old veteran, picking him over Alex Nedeljkovic, who at the time was a Calder Trophy finalist who had posted a .932 save percentage and 1.90 goals-against-average in 23 games for the team.
Andersen rewarded them massively for that choice, playing in 52 games and posting a 35-14-3 record, a 2.17 goals-against-average, and a .922 save percentage. His performance alongside backup Antti Raanta earned the tandem a Jennings trophy, which became the second of Andersen’s career.
Unfortunately, an injury derailed the end of Andersen’s season, and he wasn’t able to take the ice in the Hurricanes’ playoff run, which lasted until a game-seven loss to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Now back on the Hurricanes roster, the expectation will be for Andersen to resume his status as the team’s number-one netminder. He won’t be without challengers for that role, though. The team’s backup, Raanta, has played in 16 games, and while his .894 save percentage isn’t anything to write home about, he’s gone 10-2-3 with a 2.63 goals-against-average.
Additionally, the Hurricanes have received quality goaltending from Pyotr Kochetkov, the team’s presumed “goalie of the future.” The 36th overall pick at the 2019 draft, Kochetkov, 23, has played in 18 games for the Hurricanes this year and posted a .914 save percentage.
His strong form this season adds to the interesting situation the Hurricanes now face. With Andersen back, they could opt to keep a three-goalie rotation and roster all three netminders on their active roster. Or, they could make the difficult choice to send Kochetkov back to their AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, despite his impressive performance.
Kochetkov has faded a bit in recent starts, with an .842 save percentage in his last three games, which may make that decision a bit easier, but it’ll nonetheless be difficult for the team to feel comfortable sending down the netminder with the highest save percentage on their team.
In November, Kochetkov earned a $2MM AAV contract extension that will last through 2026-2027, meaning his future is undoubtedly in Raleigh long-term. But in the short-term, he may need to spend a bit more time developing in Chicago.