The Carolina Hurricanes have re-signed winger Justin Shugg, whittling their restricted free agent list down to a single player.
Shugg, a 22-year-old forward who split his first three professional seasons between Charlotte and the ECHL’s Florida Everblades, signed a one-year, two-way contract on Monday. The Hurricanes’ fourth-round draft choice in 2010, Shugg has 72 points (28g, 44a) in 147 career games with Charlotte, setting career highs in all major categories in his first full AHL campaign last season.
With Shugg back in the fold, defenseman Rasmus Rissanen, who also recently completed his entry-level contract, is the only Hurricanes RFA from a pool that originally included forwards Zach Boychuk, Greg Nemisz, Jared Staal and defenseman Michal Jordan that has yet to re-sign with the club.
With top-line wingers Boychuk and Chris Terry solid candidates to start next season in the NHL, Shugg, who has the junior hockey pedigree of a high scorer (39 goals and 41 goals in each of his last two seasons, respectively) and a winner of championships (two Memorial Cups that preceded his 2012 Kelly Cup with the Everblades), will again have the opportunity to fill an increased role this coming season. With 38 points, he ranked sixth on last year’s team in scoring behind Boychuk, Terry, Aaron Palushaj (currently an unrestricted free agent), Brett Sutter (signed with Minnesota) and returning center Victor Rask.
Having begun his first two pro campaigns with the Everblades, the first partially due to his young age (19 at the time) and the second due to the NHL’s lockout taking up AHL spots, Shugg scored 34 points (15g, 19a) in 30 career regular-season games and 12 points (7g, 5a) in Florida’s run to its first-ever Kelly Cup – his third championship in four seasons.