For years, the Carolina Hurricanes have been one of the league’s lowest spenders. This season, they rank 30th in the league in terms of payroll, only ahead of the penny-pinching Arizona Coyotes. With the recent sale to Dallas billionaire Thomas Dundon, many Hurricanes fans would hope that would change, at least partially.
In his latest 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet, Elliotte Friedman shares some of the conversation he had with Dundon about payroll going forward. One thing sticks out, and that’s the new owner’s insistence that they won’t be outbid for current players they want to keep.
Put it this way—we won’t lose players we want for five per cent more money. Now, if someone does something irrational? Losing the players we want will never be because of the money—it will be because someone does something irrational that makes us question the value. I believe we can run the business in a way that will make it work.
That is music to the ears of many Carolina fans, who are starting to see the fruits of a Ron Francis-led rebuild in the standings, with the team just two points out of a playoff spot (despite technically being in last place in the Metropolitan). The team has locked up many of their homegrown assets, and made trades to acquire various pieces at a discount when other teams are in trouble.
Now backed by a more involved owner, who also spoke about increasing investment in analytics and scouting, the team may be able to turn some heads on the free agent market or when it comes to retaining some of their own players. Jeff Skinner, for instance, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019 and is in for an enormous contract if he continues to play well. The 25-year old has 29 points on the season, and is coming off a 37-goal campaign that was generally overlooked by many fans around the league.