If The Canes Sign Players But Don’t Confirm, Did It Happen?
You know it’s July when you’re desperately looking for any kind of signing or player movement to make a post about. In this case, when the Canes do something, I feel obligated, even though nothing is official yet. But then again, I’m not a journalist.
As first pointed out by Cory Lavalette on Twitter, Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog mentioned in passing that the Canes had signed University of New Hampshire right wing Matt Willows. Puck Daddy linked to an article in the Journal News, which serves the Lower Hudson Valley of New York and they’re a respectable newspaper type thing, so I’m confident enough in that to go with it.
A little more digging on Twitter showed not only congrats for Willows’ signing with the Canes, but former teammate Justin Agosta, a defenseman who played for Quinnipiac last season, who apparently also signed with the Canes.
— Collin MacDonald (@C_Mac27) July 18, 2015
Neither signing has been confirmed by the Canes organization, but both Willows and Agosta retweeted the above tweet on their accounts and hey – if you can’t believe Collin MacDonald, who can you believe?
Both players are 24, so any contract signed by the two (assuming it’s the Canes that signed them and not the Checkers on an AHL deal, which is also possible) will likely be a one year, two-way ELC, similar to the one that goaltender Rasmus Tirronen signed back in March. Tirronen signed a one year, two-way ELC for $575,000 at the NHL level and $65,000 at the AHL level with no signing bonus.
Willows played for four years at UNH, and served as team captain last season. The winger was second on the team in goals (19) and third in points (35). With only 24 forwards signed in the Canes organization and two of them likely to be playing overseas, Willows looks to have a decent shot at getting some regular ice time in Charlotte.
Agosta’s signing is a little more unusual. The defenseman moved on to Quinnipiac after graduating from UNH with a year of eligibility remaining. Agosta led the Bobcats defensemen in scoring (3-19-22), after putting up similar numbers at UNH the season prior (6-20-26). With the recent signing of Noah Hanifin, however, the Canes organization would have 18 defensemen under contract. Even assuming Haydn Fleury and Roland McKeown return to juniors, the Canes organization was already looking at the possibility of a player like Tyler Ganly or Dennis Robertson beginning the season in the ECHL. Agosta could end up in the ECHL as well as injury insurance, but the signing of Agosta would make an already crowded blue line even more so.
UPDATE (7/20, 4:44pm) – Hearing now that the Willows and Agosta contracts were in fact AHL deals with the Charlotte Checkers, and not with the Canes organization. Similar to what Chad LaRose did with the Checkers last season, this puts both players on the Checkers roster, but allows them to sign an NHL contract with any organization if the interest is there. So, while this doesn’t directly affect the Canes organization, it takes two roster slots in Charlotte, further crowding the Checkers potential blue line.