GM Steve Yzerman has roughly $5-$6 million in cap space, with forward Nikita Kucherov and d-man Nikita Nesterov still to sign. “We’ve got to be under the cap at some point,” Yzerman said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “Depending on the health of players, Ryan Callahan had surgery and if he’s not ready to to start the season, that buys us some time. While they’ll miss Callahan’s presence, the temporary relief of his $5.8 million cap hit could allow Yzerman to take care of Kucherov and Nesterov now, and figure out the finances later.
It’s been an exciting offseason in Carolina. Now the team is equally excited about the season at hand, and the prospect of making the playoffs for the first time since 2009. “We think we’re right there,” GM Ron Francis said on Tuesday, in announcing head coach Bill Peters’ contract extension through 2019. “We want to get in the playoffs, and we want to have success around here.” Hired with little fanfare two years ago, there’s a sense Peters has finished unglamorous dirty work in shaping the team, and teaching players how he wants the game to be played. Now is the time to see the fruits of his labor. In his first season behind the bench, the former Mike Babcock assistant was working with an expensive,