Hurricanes will make paper transactions to maximize cap space; delay Stepan signing

Robert Willett/

The Carolina Hurricanes have to turn in their opening night roster to the NHL by 5 p.m. on Monday, but the roster they’re going to submit is different from what it will be by the time they actually open the season on Wednesday.

The Hurricanes called up goalie Pyotr Kotchetkov and forward Jamieson Rees from Chicago (AHL) and sent down veteran Jordan Martinook on Monday, but no one’s actually going anywhere. Those are just complicated paper transactions to maximize the Hurricanes’ salary cap space with Jake Gardiner out for the season and Max Pacioretty out until about January, and the Hurricanes got within about $14,000 of the absolute maximum possible, an impressive feat of cap gymnastics.

The one actual transaction Monday: Rookie forward Jack Drury was sent to Chicago, the final cut to get the Hurricanes to the 23-man limit when the Hurricanes revert the three paper transactions and sign Derek Stepan, in camp on a tryout contract, on Tuesday. Only then will the roster really be set for Wednesday night’s opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

By passing Martinook through waivers on Friday when other teams were less likely to grab him, the Hurricanes were able to send him to the AHL as part of Monday’s transactions. He won’t actually leave Raleigh, nor will Kotchetkov or Rees leave Chicago.

Oct. 8: Martinook clears waivers

Veteran forward Jordan Martinook of the Carolina Hurricanes has cleared NHL waivers and remains with the team.

Martinook was placed on waivers Friday by the Canes as they look to finalize their NHL roster by Monday afternoon. NHL teams had 24 hours to claim Martinook.

Martinook, 30, has two years remaining on his contract that has a cap hit of $1.8 million a year. He has spent much of preseason training camp working on the fourth line with center Jack Drury and winger Ondrej Kase.

Oct. 5: Canes roster at 25

The Canes on Wednesday reduced their training camp roster to 25 players.

The roster moves include forwards Noel Gunler, Vasily Ponomarev, Jamieson Rees, Malte Stromwall and Tuukka Tieksola, defenseman Anttoni Honka and goaltenders Pyotr Kochetkov and Zach Sawchenko being sent to the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.

Defenseman Griffin Mendel has been released from his amateur tryout contract and will return to Chicago, the Canes said.

Forwards Ryan Dzingel, Mackenzie MacEachern, Stelio Mattheos and Lane Pederson and defenseman Maxime Lajoie all have been placed on waivers for the purpose of assigning them to Chicago.

The Hurricanes agreed to mutually part ways with defenseman Grigorii Dronov. That move comes two days after Carolina signed Dronov, who has played in Russia’s KHL last season, to a one-year, two-way contract.

In another personnel move, forward Ryan Suzuki and defenseman Cavan Fitzgerald have been placed on the injured non-roster list.

The 25-man roster includes forward Max Pacioretty, sidelined after Achilles surgery, and forward Derek Stepan, who attended camp on a player tryout contract (PTO). Forwards Jack Drury and Stefan Noesen and defenseman Jalen Chatfield, who helped the Wolves win the 2022 Calder Cup championship with the Wolves, remain with the Canes.

The Hurricanes finished 4-1 in the preseason after a 4-2 loss Tuesday at Buffalo.