An offensive jigsaw puzzle awaits general manager Ron Francis and the Carolina Hurricanes this offseason.
Four restricted free-agent (RFA) forwards—Jiri Tlusty, Andrei Loktionov, Drayson Bowman and Nathan Gerbe—and a number of forward prospects face expiring contracts in the coming summer.
A detailed explanation of the workings of NHL restricted free agency is available here, but the fundamental decisions the 'Canes must make revolve around qualifying offers. In order to keep an RFA as such, they must be guaranteed at least equal salary and, in some cases, a five or 10 percent raise over their previous contract.
It seems highly likely that one of the foursome will not find a home on the Hurricanes roster in 2014-15. Francis & Co., however, must decide which one(s), and soon.
Predictions for the fate of each Carolina RFA are on the following slides.
This slideshow is part 2 in a two-part series on the Hurricanes' offseason free agents. Part 1, predicting which unrestricted free agents (UFAs) the team will re-sign, can be read here.