Restricted free-agent forward Andrei Svechnikov has agreed to an eight-year, $62 million contract to remain with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes took him with the second-overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, and he has been a key part of their offense in his first three seasons.
The deal keeps Svechnikov with the team through the 2028-29 season when he’ll turn 29. Carolina has ensured that their best young asset is locked up through his prime and should look to build their team around him as they vie for a championship.
Fit with the Hurricanes
Svechnikov is critical to the Hurrincanes’ offense, playing on the first line and the top power-play unit. The Russian sniper has built tremendous chemistry with center Sebastian Aho. They play together in all situations and form a formidable top line no matter who lines up on the opposite wing. Teuvo Teravainen has seen time with and without Aho and Svechnikov, and the coaching staff might continue to experiment with splitting up their top three forwards.
Through 205 NHL games, Svechnikov leads his draft class with 140 points. His 59 goals are one behind Brady Tkachuk among his draft peers, and his 81 assists rank third behind defensemen Rasmus Dahlin and Quinn Hughes. He has already cemented himself as one of the top young players in the game and is now being paid like one. His $7.75 million annually is the second-highest on the team behind Aho. The two will continue to lead by example as Carolina looks to build on their recent playoff success.
Changes in Raleigh
Carolina’s core remains mostly intact heading into the 2021-22 season, although they will need to fill the massive void left by the departure of defenseman Dougie Hamilton. After Hamilton landed in New Jersey and Alex Nedeljkovic was shipped off to the Detroit Red Wings, the Hurricanes’ defense and goaltending will look a lot different than they did at the end of last season. The Canes will run with Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta between the pipes and added Tony DeAngelo, Brendan Smith, Ethan Bear, and Ian Cole to their top-heavy defense core.
While Carolina mainly lost defensemen and goaltenders, Hamilton’s offense was among the strongest of NHL defensemen. That will put more pressure on Svechnikov, Aho, and the other top forwards to produce more to supplement the missing offense from the blue line. Without a key member of the team’s core, Svechnikov will need to use his new deal to prove that he can fill that void and help push the team over the edge and compete year in and year out.
Covering the New York Islanders and Seattle Kraken for The Hockey Writers. MBA Sports & Entertainment Management Candidate at Hofstra University. Formerly Marketing Intern with the American Flag Football League & Operations Intern for the Long Island Nets, G-League Affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets.