Riley Nash

Under Pressure: Ron Francis

With two key members of the franchise heading into the final year of their respective contracts, ‘Canes GM Ron Francis is under pressure to make some big decisions in Carolina.

Both Eric Staal and Cam Ward are set to become unrestricted free agents after the 2015-16 season. Both players were first-round picks of the ‘Canes and have spent their entire careers in the Carolina organization.

“We’ve had some conversations with Rich (Curran). When Eric and Cam get back into town, I’m sure we’ll have conversations with them,” Francis said. “I feel pretty comfortable with my relationship with Rich, and with both players that when the time is right and the numbers are right that we can get something done.

“Am I in a hurry to get this done this week or before camp or into the season? I really don’t have a timeframe on it. It’ll get done when it gets done.”

Ward, who went 22-24-5 in 51 appearances last season while posting a 2.40 G.A.A. and a .910 save percentage, is no stranger to being the subject of trade rumors. The 31-year-old expected to be dealt last summer.

“There was a lot of chatter about it last year and I learned a lot from that too,” Ward told PHT in January. “(Last) summer I was really able to take a break mentally and realize that I can only control what I can control – that’s just having fun and enjoying the game of hockey.”

Staal scored 23 goals and 54 points in 77 games last season registering his lowest totals since his rookie season.

“We’ll look at the whole situation and try and figure out what’s best,” Francis said. “As we said from Day 1, it has to make sense for our organization. We always talk about the term of the contract and the money in the contract – making sure we’re not blocking things going forward either.”

In addition to Staal and Ward, Francis will have to make decisions on Nathan Gerbe and Riley Nash up front. The only defenseman set to become an unrestricted free agent is John-Michael Liles while Eddie Lack is also headed into the final year of his contract.

Related: Poll: What should the ‘Canes do with Eric Staal?

PHT’s 2015 free agent frenzy tracker


Throughout the day, we’ll be keeping tabs on all the signings across the NHL. Check back regularly for all the biggest signings, trades and other acquisitions from July 1:

Wednesday, July 1

• Washington signs Justin Williams: two years, $6.5 million (link)

• Arizona signs Antoine Vermette: two years, $7.5 million (link)

• Anaheim signs Shawn Horcoff: one year, $1.75 million (link)

• New Jersey signs Jim O’Brien to one-year, two-way deal

• Boston signs Matt Beleskey: five years, $19 million (link)

• Toronto signs Daniel Winnik: two years, $4.5 million (link)

• Columbus signs Gregory Campbell: two years, $3 million (link)

• Montreal signs Mark Barberio: one-year, two-way deal worth $600K at NHL level (link)

• Anaheim signs Matt Hackett to a two-year deal and Chris Mueller and Joe Piskula to one-year deals

• Detroit signs Brad Richards: one year, $3 million (link)

• Minnesota signs Zac Dalpe: one year, $ TBA

• Toronto signs Mark Arcobello: one year, $1.1 million

• Florida signs Cameron Gauce and Brett Regner: term and $ TBA

• Pittsburgh signs Steven Oleksy: one year, $575,000

• Pittsburgh signs Kevin Porter and Kael Mouillerat to matching one-year, $575,00 deals

• Detroit signs Mike Green: three years, $18 million (link)

• Boston extends Ryan Spooner: two years, $1.9 million (link)

• Pittsburgh signs Sergei Plotnikov: one year, $ TBA

• Ottawa signs Mike Kostka: one year, $800,000

• Minnesota signs Ruslan Fedotenko: one year, $ TBA

• Toronto extends  Richard Panik: one year, $975,000

• Vancouver signs Taylor Fedun: one year, $ TBA

• Ottawa signs Zack Stortini: two years, $ TBA

• Dallas extends Curtis McKenzie: two years, $1.35 million

• Buffalo signs Cal O’Reilly: two years, $1.4 million

• New York Rangers sign Viktor Stalberg: one year, $1.1 million (link)

• Toronto signs P.A. Parenteau: one year, $1.5 million (link)

• New Jersey signs John Moore: three years, $4.8 million (link)

• Nashville signs Cody Hodgson: one year, $1.05 million (link)

• New York Rangers sign Raphael Diaz: one year, $700,000

• Tampa Bay signs Eric Condra: three years, $3.75 million (link)

• Vancouver signs Richard Bachman: two years, $ TBA

• Pittsburgh signs David Warsofsky: one year, $600,000

• Minnesota extends Ryan Carter: one year, $625,000

• Chicago signs Viktor Tikhonov, one-year, $1.04 million (link)

• Winnipeg signs Alex Burmistrov: two years, $3.1 million (link)

• Nashville signs Barrett Jackman: two years, $2 million (link)

• Carolina extends Riley Nash: one year, $1.5 million

• St. Louis extends Chris Butler: one year, $675,000

• Minnesota extends Nate Prosser: two years, $1.25 million

• San Jose signs Paul Martin: four years, $19.4 million (link)

• Los Angeles signs Jhonas Enroth: one year, $1.25 million (link)

• Calgary signs Michael Frolik: five years, $21.5 million (link)

• Vancouver signs Matt Bartkowski: one year, $1.75 million (link)

• Arizona signs Zybnek Michalek: two years, $6.4 million (link)

• Arizona signs Dustin Jeffrey: one year, two-way deal

• Arizona signs Steve Downie: one year, $1.75 million (link)

• Arizona signs Anders Lindback: one year, $875,000 (link)

• Arizona signs Brad Richardson: three years, $6.24 million (link)

• Colorado signs Francois Beauchemin: three years, $13.5 million (link)

• Colorado signs Blake Comeau: three years, $7.2 million (link)

• Edmonton signs Mark Letestu: three years, $5.4 million (link)

• Edmonton signs Andrej Sekera: six years, $33 million (link)

• Winnipeg extends Matt Halischuk: one year, $750,000

• Philadelphia signs Michal Neuvirth: two years, $3.25 million (link)

• New York Islanders sign Thomas Greiss; two years, $3 million (link)

• Washington extends Stanislav Galiev: two years, $1.15 million

• Toronto signs Matt Hunwick: two years, $2.4 million (link)

• Winnipeg extends Adam Pardy: one year, $1 million (link)

• Vancouver extends Yannick Weber: one year, $1.5 million (link)

• Minnesota extends Mikael Granlund: two years, $6 million (link)

• Detroit extends Tom McCollum: one year, $ TBA

• Detroit extends Andy Miele: one year, $575,000 (link)

• Calgary extends Karri Ramo: one year, $3.9 million (link)

• Dallas extends Patrick Eaves: one year, $1.15 million (link)

• Nashville extends Mike Ribeiro: two years, $7 million (link)

• Chicago extends Artem Anisimov: five years, $22.75 million (link)

• Anaheim extends Kevin Bieksa: two years, $8 million (link)

Previous deals of note (post-draft)

• Brandon Saad, Michael Paliotta and Alex Broadhurst to Columbus for Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp and a ’16 fourth-rounder (link)

• Detroit re-signs Brendan Smith: two years, $5.5 million (link)

• Kevin Bieksa to Anaheim for a ’16 second-rounder (link)

• Isles re-sign Anders Lee: four years, $15 million (link)

• Martin Jones to San Jose for a ’16 first-rounder and Sean Kuraly; Sharks sign Jones to three-year, $9 million deal (link)

• Jets re-sign Stafford: two years, $8.7 million (link)

• Calgary signs Dougie Hamilton: six years, $34.5 million (link)

Riley Nash, Yannick Weber among those without qualifying offers


With the start of the free agent period less than 48 hours away, teams had to either present qualifying offers to their restricted free agents or allow them to enter the UFA market. While most RFAs will receive them, every year there are some noteworthy players that teams choose to concede the rights to.

This year Carolina Hurricanes forward Riley Nash and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Yannick Weber are among those that top that list.

Nash was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers. Rather than sign him though, Edmonton traded his rights to Carolina in 2010. Since then the 26-year-old forward has registered 22 goals and 37 assists in 178 contests, including 25 points in 68 games in 2014-15.

Hurricanes GM Ron Francis hasn’t ruled out the possibility of re-signing Nash despite the fact that he’s allowing Nash to enter the open market, per the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander.

Weber, 26, is the veteran of 229 NHL contests. He had 11 goals and 21 points while averaging 17:11 minutes in 65 contests in 2014-15. Vancouver’s decision to give up its exclusive rights to Weber is eyebrow raising.

Similarly to the case with Nash though, Vancouver might still end up signing him. It sounds like the Canucks’ primary concern was what he might have gotten via arbitration, per Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy. Still, Weber has been given control over his situation so Vancouver will have to see what he does with it.

Some other noteworthy players that will be allowed to test the open market include Colorado’s Jordan Caron, Columbus’ Dana Tyrell, Edmonton’s Keith Aulie, and Winnipeg’s Keaton Ellerby.

Hurricanes ink Chris Terry to one-year deal


The Carolina Hurricanes and forward Chris Terry have agreed to a one-year, $875,000 contract extension, per the team’s website.

Terry had the option of becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer after completing his one-year, $600,000 deal for the 2014-15 campaign.

After recording at least 59 points in four straight campaigns in the AHL, Terry had 11 goals and 20 points in 57 contests with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. He logged 12:43 minutes per game, including an average of 1:11 minutes with the man advantage.

Patrick Dwyer, Jack Hillen, and Brett Bellemore are among the players within the Hurricanes’ organization that are still eligible to test the UFA waters this summer. Carolina also has restricted free agents to re-sign, including forwards Riley Nash and Andrej Nestrasil.

PHT Morning Skate: Canes’ players sample girl scout cookies for the first time


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Carolina Hurricanes’ Andrej Nestrasil, Anton Khudobin, and Riley Nash sample Girl Scout cookies for the first time:

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Abysmal Leafs fail to sell out Air Canada Centre for first time in arena’s history; will we see more non-sellouts? (The Hockey News)

Referee KO’d after LNAH player takes out his legs. (Puck Daddy)

Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond isn’t the only player with ties to McDonald’s these days. Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty recently had a little fun with Bruins’ fans in an ad for his McDonald’s burgher “Max 67”.

From afterthought to savior, it’s been 10 wild months for Devan Dubnyk. (Sportsnet)

Prior to puck drop on Monday night the Toronto Maple Leafs honored defenseman Eric Brewer for playing in his 1,000th NHL game over the weekend.