Can Hurricanes, Svechnikov break through after big eight-year contract?

Can Hurricanes, Svechnikov take next steps after big eight-year contract?
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To put things mildly, it’s been a stormy offseason for the Carolina Hurricanes. Even if you have no qualms with the extremely divisive Anthony DeAngelo signing. Thursday presented a reason for Hurricanes fans to celebrate, however, as the team signed Andrei Svechnikov to a big eight-year contract.

While that eight-year commitment is big, the immediate reaction is that the Hurricanes got a solid bargain with Svechnikov. Carolina confirmed that Svechnikov’s cap hit will be an affordable $7.75 million.

A cap hit just under $8M already feels Hurricanes-friendly for what Svechnikov is now.

It’s most exciting when you picture what he might become.

Svechnikov is already part of the Hurricanes’ dynamic duo alongside Sebastian Aho. After posting career-highs in 2019-20 (24 goals, 61 points in 68 games), Svechnikov excelled again last season (15 goals, 42 points in 55 games).

Svechnikov contract: nice for Hurricanes now, even better later?

At 21, there’s still plenty of room for Svechnikov to grow. If he can iron out his two-way game and/or finish scoring chances a bit more regularly, then that contract goes from very nice to a big bargain for the Hurricanes.

Don’t blame the Hurricanes for daydreaming that a promising present translates to an even better future. For the next three seasons, Svechnikov and 24-year-old Aho cost the Hurricanes a bit more than $16M per season. (Svechnikov’s contract specifically runs from 2021-22 through 2028-29.)

Evolving Hockey’s eight-year projection for Svechnikov came in with about an $8M cap hit, so the price is solid by just about every measure. Strong stuff overall by the ‘Canes, who are clearly excited.

Can Hurricanes, Svechnikov take next steps after big eight-year contract? Carolina Twitter
via Hurricanes on Twitter

[With Svechnikov covered, these other five RFAs still need deals]

Now, some of this excitement is diluted a bit by Carolina’s larger offseason.

For a team that’s been almost there for so long, it stings a bit to wave goodbye to Dougie Hamilton.

Yes, maybe Carolina joins other NHL teams in simply not seeing Hamilton in the way certain metrics paint him as elite. But, for a team with a window of savings thanks to Svechnikov – Aho not breaking the bank, possible half-measures are pretty unsatisfying. Shouldn’t the Hurricanes go for it? Especially with other Metropolitan Division teams either slipping or idling?

Perhaps the Hurricanes still have tricks up their sleeves? According to Cap Friendly, the Hurricanes have about $4.576M in cap space after signing Svechnikov.

They could use that money to add more via the remaining free-agent market, or save it to load up during the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline. Or the Tom Dundon-related fears come true, and they don’t spend that extra bit of money.

Hey, it’s his money, and perhaps this isn’t the moment for Carolina to strike.

Personally, the Hurricanes feel a lot like Svechnikov as a player. They’re already quite good and promising, but there’s that feeling that things could get even better. We’ll see if it happens both for the player, and the team.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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