A couple weeks ago, Chip Alexander broke the news that the Hurricanes will let their potential unrestricted free agents test the market and they aren't going to lose a ton of value by doing this. The only player who will be difficult to replace is back-up goaltender Dan Ellis and even then, they might be able to find someone of equal talent for a low cost with goaltender performance being so difficult to predict. Other unrestricted free agents for Carolina include bottom-sixers like Chad LaRose & Tim Brent who can be replaced without much of an issue and aging defenseman Joe Corvo who probably wasn't going to be re-signed no matter what. However, the Hurricanes do have a couple of young defensemen who are pending unrestricted free agents and could represent some value in future seasons. Those two players being Bobby Sanguinetti and Brett Bellemore.
Neither have a lot of NHL experience and haven't given the Hurricanes a ton of value thus far, but they are still very young and have shown plenty of potential over the past couple of seasons. They also represent an opportunity for the Hurricanes to get help on defense without breaking the bank. Defensemen typically take years to develop and while neither Bellemore or Sanguinetti have broken into the NHL full-time just yet, if they were to do so over the next year they would represent a lot of value for whichever teams sign them. That's a big "if," though because both players are relatively unproven and there is no guarantee that either are good enough to play in a top-four role at the NHL level as soon as next year.
Both of these players have been in the Hurricanes organization for over three years now and they've been in the AHL for most of that time. Sanguinetti finally made the "jump" to the NHL this year and while he got off to a rocky start, he settled in as a solid third-pairing defenseman during the second half of the year. Bellemore has much less NHL experience with only eight total games played as an emergency call-up this season, but he was impressive during that time and fills a need as a stay-at-home defenseman with good size and a strong physical game. It would have been nice to see him get some more games to see what he can do, but this is where we're at right now and the Hurricanes will have to make a decision on him and Sanguinetti before July.
This is a situation the Hurricanes aren't completely foreign to, though because they were in a similar spot a few years ago when it came time to extend Jay Harrison and Brett Carson. They are obviously much different players than Sanguinetti and Bellemore in terms of playing style but their contract situation is pretty similar. Both were in their mid-20's, had less than a year of NHL experience at the time and were unrestricted free agents. the Hurricanes ended up them both one-year contracts for around the league minimum. Will they do the same with Sanguinetti and Bellemore?
It really depends on what the front office thinks of them. Both have potential, but are still unproven assets and the Hurricanes need immediate help on defense. If they don't see them as anything more than third pairing defensemen, then they will probably let both walk without a blink of an eye. However, if they see them as players who can step into a top-four role as soon as next year, then they will probably re-sign them. A trade involving someone like Jamie McBain or Jay Harrison could also change things up since that will at least open a roster spot but in the end, it will probably depend on how much potential they really see in Bellemore & Sanguientti.
After the jump, we'll look at both player's track records so far, what their potential is and what kind of contract each will be looking at this summer.no comments