The Carolina Hurricanes’ offseason in 2022 was highlighted by the signings of Brent Burns and Max Pacioretty. Ondrej Kase and Paul Stastny, two players signed on inexpensive one-year contracts, might potentially prove to be difference-makers for the Hurricanes. Kase was signed on the first day of free agency and is expected to fit in as a middle-six winger. He is coming off a good season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, when he scored 14 goals and 27 points in 50 games (despite averaging less than 14 minutes per game), for a season total of 23 goals and 44 points in 82 games.
Well Rounded and Versatile Attacker
He’s a well-rounded and versatile attacker who can play a high-intensity game while also killing penalties. His health is obviously a problem, as the attacker has only played more than 55 games in a season once in his career. If he can remain healthy, he could easily maintain a rate of 20-25 goals and 45 points per 82 minutes. While Stastny’s performance has dipped slightly in recent years (he’s now 36 years old), he’s still a solid acquisition for the price. Stastny has 21 goals and 45 points in 71 games with the Winnipeg Jets this season, at a rate of 24 goals and 52 points per 82.
Stastny’s prominence is also enhanced by his ability to play center if necessary. Following the departure of Vincent Trocheck, the center positions in the top-nine are expected to be replaced by Sebastian Aho, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Jordan Staal. However, Kotkaniemi is expected to be given a significant role, which he may or may not be prepared for at this stage, so the arrival of Stastny will provide Carolina some flexibility in the center.
Given that each player was signed for under $1.5 million for the season and can likely average 20 goals and 45 points per game, signing the tandem is a steal for the Hurricanes. There is no long-term danger in terms of Kase’s injury history or Stastny’s age, especially on a one-year deal.
Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter were the primary losses from the Hurricanes’ forward corps this offseason, and they will earn a combined $9.63 million this season after accepting multi-year contracts elsewhere. While Kase and Stastny may not entirely compensate for those losses, finding two players who can deliver as much value as the combo for a combined price of under $3 million is a victory.