RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes have a number of players due to become unrestricted free agents July 5, and general manager Jim Rutherford said most would likely would test the free-agency market.
One will not be Brett Sutter.
Sutter, 26, signed a one-year contract Tuesday with the Hurricanes that will pay the forward $600,000 on the NHL level or $150,000 on the American Hockey League (AHL) level. The contract includes a guarantee of at least $250,000.
Sutter, the cousin of former Canes center Brandon Sutter, spent most of last season with the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL, serving as team captain for the second straight year. He had AHL career highs in goals (19), assists (29) and points (48), leading the team with 17 even-strength goals.
Sutter played in three games with the Hurricanes last season and had no points but plays a physical style and is expected to push for a roster spot this season. The Canes obtained him in a November 2010 trade with the Calgary Flames.
Of the players who closed the season on the Canes’ roster, forwards Chad LaRose and Tim Brent; defensemen Joe Corvo, Bobby Sanguinetti and Marc-Andre Bergeron, and goalie Dan Ellis will become unrestricted free agents on July 5 if not re-signed.
"We will let them go into free agency," Rutherford said. "We’ll see if some make it back to us or if we make it back to them."
Defenseman Brett Bellemore and forward Tim Wallace, who both played some games with the Canes but spent much of last season in Charlotte, also will be UFAs. Another UFA will be forward Jerome Samson.
The Hurricanes are gearing up for the NHL Entry Draft this week while looking to make personnel changes. Rutherford said Tuesday the Canes likely would not make use of the compliance buyouts made available to NHL teams.
The Canes have the No. 5 overall pick in Sunday’s draft. Rutherford said Tuesday the team might entertain moving down in the first round if a deal can be struck, but that it was unlikely Carolina would try to move up.
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