Chris Terry will pass on his first chance to test unrestricted free agency, choosing instead to sign a new deal with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Terry, a 25-year-old entering his sixth professional season, has agreed to a one-year, two-way deal similar to the kind recently signed by many other Hurricanes prospects whose first and second contracts expire. At $600,000, Terry will also earn close to the minimum NHL salary on his new contract, with a key difference being that his AHL salary of $300,000 is believed to be the highest that Carolina has ever agreed to and close to triple that of Terry’s last season.
Since the Hurricanes selected him in the fifth round of the 2007 draft, Terry has played the entirety of his career with the organization and is the Checkers’ all-time leader in goals (103), assists (149), points (252) and games played (294). After waiting until his fourth pro season to get his first NHL game, he has made something of a breakthrough in recent years, including 10 games played with the Hurricanes last season.
In Terry’s most recent NHL game against Dallas on April 3, he played alongside Eric Staal and recorded two assists on the power play, an area of concern for the club in recent seasons and one already mentioned by new coach Bill Peters as one to address. On an interview that aired on Monday’s Marek vs. Wyshynski podcast, Peters mentioned Terry and Zach Boychuk as skilled players who could help the Hurricanes next season. In the Checkers’ four AHL seasons, those two have led the team in scoring twice each.
Terry’s most recent season was his most productive as he achieved a career-high 69 points (28g, 41a) in 70 games – a mark that would have been a new franchise record if not for the 74 posted by Boychuk. Terry scored 37 of those points on the power play to rank third in the AHL.
"I feel this was my best year in making the NHL," said Terry following this season's exit meetings in April. "I got some good numbers and points, and that’s one of my attributes and positives, but those 10 games up top really showed that I can play there and I want to be there. I feel like I took big steps to moving my career to the NHL next year.
"I feel like I’m ready and capable. Especially in the second half of the year when I got those three games, I felt really good up there and comfortable with that speed. It’ll be a good training camp next year and I’m excited for it."
Terry is the first player re-signed by the Hurricanes organization this offseason. Other recent Checkers still headed for unrestricted free agency on July 1 include Brett Sutter, Nicolas Blanchard, Matt Corrente and Justin Peters.