A restricted free agent once again, Zach Boychuk’s negotiation with Carolina went a little faster this time around.
Just days after presenting him with a qualifying offer to retain his rights, the Hurricanes agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with Boychuk worth $600,000 at the NHL level and $200,000 at the AHL level on Wednesday. With $275,000 guaranteed, it’s a deal similar to that recently signed by Chris Terry, another longtime Checkers scorer thought to be knocking on the door of a regular NHL role.
Boychuk, the Hurricanes’ first-round draft pick in 2008, was considering options in Europe at this time last year, having waited until the eve of training camp to re-sign with the Hurricanes. What followed was his best season as a professional as the 24-year-old led the AHL and set a new franchise record with 36 goals while earning AHL Second Team All-Star honors.
According to new Hurricanes General Manager Ron Francis at a Tuesday press conference, Boychuk will have an excellent chance of becoming a full-time NHL player next season.
“He’s a guy that we feel has earned the opportunity,” said Francis. “When he came up every game last year I thought he played extremely well, so he’ll be given every opportunity in training camp to take one of those spots.”
Boychuk led the Checkers and ranked second in the AHL with 74 points last season, with Terry, Aaron Palushaj and Brett Sutter rounding out Charlotte’s top four scorers. Those four, who together accounted for 45 percent of the team’s goals, all face uncertain futures with the team or, in Sutter’s case, have already departed, causing Francis to state his desire to sign replacements as an outstanding item on his summer to-do list.
The Hurricanes have now signed two of their six restricted free agents, with Greg Nemisz agreeing to terms earlier Wednesday. Forwards Jared Staal and Justin Shugg and defensemen Michal Jordan and Rasmus Rissanen remain unsigned at this early stage.