‘Canes bolster forward group with Stempniak, Stalberg signings

Ron Francis wanted to add some veteran experience and size to his forward group this summer.

Well, mission accomplished.

On the opening day of free agency, the ‘Canes inked former Rangers winger Viktor Stalberg to a one-year, $1.5 million deal and journeyman Lee Stempniak to a two-year, $5 million contract — one that carries a $2.5M average annual cap hit.

“Lee is a veteran, skilled forward who will provide offense for our team, as well as leadership on and off the ice,” Francis said in a release. “Adding size to our forward corps was a priority this offseason. Viktor is another big, strong player who can skate that we’ve added to our lineup.”

More, from the club:

Stalberg, 30, appeared in 75 games for the New York Rangers in 2015-16, netting nine goals and adding 11 assists (20 points).

Stempniak, 33, netted 19 goals and added 33 assists (51 points) and was plus-3 in 82 games with the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins in 2015-16.

Carolina will have a decidedly different look up front next season. Prior to today’s transactions, Francis acquired Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell from Chicago, without having to give up anybody from the active roster. Both should be in line for minutes, with Teravainen likely to play in the top six.

The ‘Canes are also expected to give prospect Sebastian Aho a shot at making the team this fall.

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