Now that the NHL Trade Deadline is behind Ron Francis, his focus will shift to his Restricted Free Agents and signing certain prospects to their Entry-Level Contracts (ELC).

Francis has until June 1 to sign 2015 Draftees playing in the Canadian Major Junior hockey. Goaltender Callum Booth, forwards Spencer Smallman and Steven Lorentz are the only players from that draft class affected by this deadline. If they are not offered, or choose to sign a contract they’ll either re-enter the draft or become UFAs depending on their age. Booth (19) would be the only one to re-enter the draft.

Signing any or all three players will go a long way towards cementing the best draft class since 2010. We may look back on this class as the best in Carolina history, and perhaps in franchise history. In 1982 the Whalers selected three player who went on to play more than 1,000 games: Kevin Dineen, Ulf Samuelsson, and Ray Ferraro.

Noah Hanifin and Sebastian Aho are two players from the 2015 draft class that need no introduction as they’re already on the NHL roster. Forwards Nicolas Roy and Aleksi Saarela already signed to their ELCs. Both will play professionally in North America next year. Roy should start the year in the AHL with Charlotte, while Saarela may have an outside chance at an NHL roster spot.

Luke Stevens and David Cotton are the only other Canes prospects from draft. As NCAA players, they’ll have 30 days from the day they de-commit from their respective schools or August 15th of their graduation year. Depending on individual circumstances, either player may become unrestricted free agents beyond their specific deadline.

An August 15 deadline highlights an interesting case study with one player in the pipeline: Warren Foegele.

Selected in the 3rd Round in 2014, Foegele was drafted as an NCAA-commit on his way to the University of New Hampshire. During the fall semester of sophomore year at UNH, he left school to go to the OHL.

My best attempt at understanding the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement tells me the organization has until August 15, 1018 to sign Foegele. This is the last year he is eligible to playing Canadian Major Junior hockey. Given that and the impression he left on head coach Bill Peters and all of Hockey Ops, I’d expect he will receive a contract offer once the Erie Otters’ season comes to an end.

Likewise, I think all three 2015 CHLers will see contract offers. If you include players slated to become restricted free agents on July 1, the Hurricanes will have 36 guys eligible to play in Raleigh or Charlotte. I expect Jake Bean will be returned to Calgary of the Western Hockey League, meaning there is room for up to 13 new contracts. Teams are limited to 50 active players under contact in a season.

Jake Bean

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
2016113Calgary HitmenWestern Hockey League (CHL/Major Junior)
MonthGPGAPTSPIM
October30224
November00000
December52682
January12413174
February131782
TOTAL337283512

Julien Gauthier

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
2016121Saint John Sea DogsQuébec Major Junior Hockey League (CHL/Major Junior)
MonthGPGAPTSPIMSS%
October104596478.5
November103141714397.7
December30112100
January733643010
February738118348.8
TOTAL37133144341608.1

Janne Kuokkanen

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
2016243London KnightsOntario Hockey League (CHL/Major Junior)
MonthGPGAPTSPIMSS%
September1000040
October10851342927.5
November123141714397.7
December52352229
January1145942416.6
February1244822317.3
TOTAL512335581413916.5

Matt Filipe

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
2016367Northeastern HuskiesHockey East (NCAA/College (Div. I))
MonthGPGAPTSPIMSS%
October721381414.2
November8011460
December31124425
January8246161910.5
February842621040
TOTAL349918345317

Hudson Elynuik

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
2016374Spokane ChiefWestern Hockey League (CHL/Major Junior)
MonthGPGAPTSPIM
October1046109
November106111710
December12481212
January13591418
February843715
TOTAL5322375964

Jack LaFontaine

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
2016375Michigan WolverinesBig 10 (NCAA/College (Div. I))
MonthGPSMINSHSVGASOGAAS%WLT
October33184:30109102702.280.936111
November22118:30615561553.040.902020
December2179:507770705.280.909010
January1160:0029263030.897010
February33150:4896861003.970.895020
TOTAL1110593:383723393303.340.911171

Max Zimmer

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
20164104Wisconson BadgersBig 10 (NCAA/College (Div. I))
MonthGPGAPTSPIMSS%
October60002100
November62244277.4
December40110100
January61234137.7
February8011070
TOTAL303698575.3

Jeremy Helvig

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
20165134Kingston FrontenacsOntario Hockey League (CHL/Major Junior)
MonthGPSMINSHSVGASOGAAS%WLOTLSOL
September1160:00292901011000
October1010599:042692432622.60.9035410
November1111638:482912603102.910.8935501
December99523:322602372302.640.9124130
January1010578:472832582522.590.9125401
February1010567:402952672802.960.9054501
TOTAL51512967:511458132513352.690.909241943

Noah Carroll

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
20166164Sault Ste. Marie GreyhoundsOntario Hockey League (CHL/Major Junior)
MonthGPGAPTSPIMSS%
September1011210
October1325710238.7
November90449110
December8000870
January1123541711.8
February111454156.7
TOTAL535172237756.7

Aleksi Saarela

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
2015389Lukko RamunenSM-liiga (/Professional)
MonthGPGAPTSPIMSS%
October80220330
November62020287.1
December1063905012
January112248414.9
February91340303.3
TOTAL3511102181826

Callum Booth

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
2015493Saint John Sea DogsQuébec Major Junior Hockey League (CHL/Major Junior)
MonthGPSMINSHSVGASOGAAS%WLOTLSOL
September1160:00343401011000
October99508:582692452402.830.9115301
November77433:122702502002.770.9265110
December66325:562061832304.230.8882400
January99479:431771591812.250.8986300
February1010560:442272032412.570.9847110
TOTAL42422368:331183107410932.760.908261221

Nicolas Roy

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
2015496Chicoutimi SaguenéensQuébec Major Junior Hockey League (CHL/Major Junior)
MonthGPGAPTSPIMSS%
September1000040
October117916124714.9
November98111963821.1
December41238128.3
January9651123517.1
February1110122265219.2
TOTAL453239713418817

Luke Stevens

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
20155126Yale BulldogsECAC (NCAA/College (Div. I))
MonthGPGAPTSPIMSS%
October1000030
November4011250
December40112070
January51122812.5
February0000000
TOTAL131344205

Spencer Smallman

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
20155138Saint John Sea DogsQuébec Major Junior Hockey League (CHL/Major Junior)
MonthGPGAPTSPIMSS%
September11010250
October13881664119.5
November9111126195.3
December10491342714.8
January933641520
February1151419132123.8
TOTAL532245673312517.6

David Cotton

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
20156169Boston College EaglesHockey East (NCAA/College (Div. I))
MonthGPGAPTSPIMSS%
October924661513.3
November822421711.7
December521322010
January625721711.82
February821321612.5
TOTAL36101323148511.8

Steven Lorentz

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
20157186Peterborough PetesOntario Hockey League (CHL/Major Junior)
MonthGPGAPTSPIMSS%
September2011080
October1135810387.9
November1119102352.8
December107613143321.2
January12771424914.3
February1271885213.5
TOTAL582529543521511.6

Warren Foegele

Draft YearRoundOverallCurrent TeamCurrent Leage
20143167Erie OttersOntario Hockey League (CHL/Major Junior)
MonthGPGAPTSPIMSS%
October72340238.7
November115121714529.6
December104596508
January125101582817.9
February1262864015
TOTAL522232543419311.4
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