Stalberg, Stempniak highlight Carolina Hurricanes early free agent signings

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes announced the signings of three free agents on Friday, but not any big-dollar, long-term deals that many National Hockey League (NHL) teams made as part of a record-setting pool of $617 million dollars that was committed to on the first day of the 2016 free agency signing period.

Carolina spent conservatively and filled spots with some experienced players by agreeing to terms with forwards Viktor Stalberg, Lee Stempniak, and Andrew Miller.

Stalberg, a former member of the 2013 Stanley-Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, signed a on a one-year contract worth $1.5 million for the 2016-17 season.

“Adding size to our forward corps was a priority this offseason,” Hurricanes executive vice president and general manager Ron Francis said.

“Viktor is another big, strong player who can skate that we’ve added to our lineup.”

The 30-year old veteran appeared in 75 games for the New York Rangers in 2015-16, and posted nine goals and 11 assists, adding to career totals of 152 points (71g, 81a) in 413 career NHL games played with Toronto, Chicago, Nashville and the Rangers.

A former Hobey Baker Award finalist while playing at the University of Vermont with whom he tallied 84 points (41g, 43a) in 117 games,  Stalberg was a sixth-round selection of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

His postseason experience includes 43 career playoff games, totaling nine points (2g, 7a) overall.

Stempniak comes to Carolina after a 51-point season with the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins in 2015-2016.

Stempniak signed a two-year contract that will pay him $2.5 million per season after posting 19 goals and 33 assists and finishing with was plus-3 rating in 82 games played.

“Lee is a veteran, skilled forward who will provide offense for our team, as well as leadership on and off the ice,” Francis said of the 33-year old.

Another with college hockey pedigree, Stempniak spent four seasons at Dartmouth as a two-time All-American and team captain before embarking on a pro career that has continued with a number of teams after being selected by the St. Louis Blues in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

To date, Stempniak has scored 184 goals and earned 236 assists (420 points) in 790 career NHL games played with St. Louis, Toronto, Arizona, Calgary, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, Winnipeg, New Jersey, and Boston.

He has appeared in 28 career playoff games, totaling 14 points (6g, 8a) overall.

Miller, 27, who finished 2015-16 with the Hurricanes’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, was signed to a one-year, two-way contract.

The deal will pay Miller $650,000 at the NHL level, or $200,000 at the AHL level, with a guarantee of $250,000.

“Andrew played well in his brief time with Charlotte last season,” Francis said.

“Adding him to our group of forwards gives us more flexibility up and down our organization’s depth chart.”

Miller played in six games with the Edmonton Oilers in 2015-16, and scored one goal and earned five assists to add to his 15 career NHL regular-season game totals.

In the AHL, the five-foot-ten-inch, 181-pound winger scored 18 goals and added 27 assists in 55 games between stints with Edmonton’s affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors, and the Checkers.

Following a four-year collegiate career at Yale where he was part of the 2013 NCAA-championship team, Miller signed with the Oilers as a free agent, and to date has scored 53 goals and earned 86 assists (139 points) in 170 career regular-season AHL games with Oklahoma City, Bakersfield, and Charlotte.