Mailbag #32: Summer Housekeeping |

RALEIGH, North Carolina. – The NHL Draft? Check.

The opening of free agency? Check.

A handful of trades that have brought All-Star players on board? Check.

Let’s go to questions.

(Please note: some questions have been edited for clarity.)

And we couldn’t pay Nino $4 million a year? – @1JeanneK

Alright, let’s get into the juicy stuff right off the bat.

In case you missed it, Nino Niederreiter signed a two-year, $8 million contract yesterday with the Nashville Predators.

For starters, as a reminder, it’s a business. And according to CapFriendly, the Canes currently have just over $4 million to spend – with the implication that Jake Gardiner will be released from long-term injured reserve (LTIR). They still have to secure business with both Martin Necas and Ethan Bear. Necas is expected to get a raise on his entry-level contract and Bear earned around $2m last year, which could be about what he gets again for this year. Most of that $4 million could be split between these two players.

So to answer the question, while $4 million may be surprising for Niederreiter, given that it’s less money after a fairly successful year, the team should have gotten even more creative than ‘she hasn’t already been for this to work.

While we all wish Nino the best (except against the Canes, of course), let’s also not forget who was added on the left wing last week…

Explain refereeing to me as if I were five years old. – @PootinMayhem

Brilliant question. Timely, too.

Here it goes:

A player thinks he is worth a certain contract. The team came up with something less than that.

Both parties present their cases to a neutral party and the neutral party makes a decision within 48 hours.

Why is this important?

Defender Ethan Bear has opted to go to arbitration. His court date is set for August 8.

Who do you see possibly making the roster on the Wolves side? Dry, maybe? Chatfield? – @OneTrueZach

Don Waddell mentioned those two names, along with Stefan Noesen, as realistic options during his press conference last week.

Anything is possible, but it seems a bit implied that since Vincent Trocheck left for free agency, Jesperi Kotkaniemi should be center number two. Waddell and Brind’Amour admitted this last week. This would open up the role in the middle of the fourth line, potentially for Drury. With 52 points in 68 games in his first North American pro season and then perhaps an even better postseason with 24 points in 18 games, he certainly looks ready to make the jump.

Brent burns and Brett Pesce land a really nice one-two punch down the right side of the blue line and right now you should suspect that one of Jalen Chatfield or Dylan Coghlan will occupy this third place. Could the two be in the game? Absolutely.

Finally, after scoring 48 goals in 70 games this past year with Chicago (AHL), you have to think that Noesen will have every chance of getting the team out of training camp in the fall.

How is the situation with Martin Nečas developing? – @Archie328

I wish I had more news for you, but at the same press conference last week where Waddell spoke about who might be able to make the jump from Chicago, his only update on No. 88 was…”nothing new”.

He said before that would happen, other elements of free agency just needed to be sorted out first.

What do you think of the floor and ceilings for the team this year? – @BigBen0397

I will preface what I am about to say with the fact that the team is not yet 100% formed for the season. But will the latest moves made completely change the landscape of the team? That remains to be seen.

The “floor” doesn’t matter. The team’s goal will once again be to win the Stanley Cup. It was last year and it will be again this year. They won’t be satisfied with another playoff appearance, another second-round exit, or even a rebound in the Eastern Conference Finals. I don’t think the fans would either.

Burns is 37 years old. Pacioretty is 33 and in a contract year. It’s no secret why they went out and got these guys over, say, an unproven, rising 26-year-old. Waddell and Brind’Amour commented on the two acquisitions fitting the team’s current window.

Their goal is to bring a second Stanley Cup to Raleigh as soon as possible.

With Burns still having 3 years left in his contract, there is obviously concern about his “downfall” given his age. How do you think the Hurricanes will handle such a problem if it arises? Do you think the concern is still valid given his recent performance? – @KiwamiBeNT

I’ll start with the last question first. Do I think the worry is valid? The man hasn’t missed a game since the 2013-14 season.

I understand playing and performing are two different things, but he produced 54 points in 82 games last year on a mediocre team. There’s something to be said for him arriving in a better situation with better pieces around him now, isn’t there?

Plus, while it might, it also might not have play nearly 30 minutes a night. He was in great demand in San José. Maybe fewer requests yield more results here.

Worth a click:

Weekly Cannes: offers, development camp, theme nights and more

Montgomery stands out, wins in development camp

Pacioretty eager to help canes in areas of need

CanesCast Episode 218: Commercial Frenzy

Burns ‘energized and excited’ to join Canes

Canes Off-Season Player Tracking