Recap of Hurricanes signings as NHL Free Agency signing period begins

Carolina_Hurricanes_Free_Agency_2015_Ron FrancisRALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes released a number of announcements as the National Hockey League (NHL) free agency signing period began on Wednesday at Noon.

The social media time lines filled up with many teams’ signings including three from the Hurricanes which took place before a media availability began at PNC Arena with CEO and majority owner Peter Karmanos Jr. and executive vice president and general manager Ron Francis.

Before both men took their place in front of the microphones, recorders and cameras, everyone in the room and those following the team found out that forward Riley Nash, defenseman Rasmus Rissanen and prospect defenseman Jacob Slavin had signed agreements with the team.

Later in the day, Carolina added minor-league forward T.J. Hensick to the list.

For Nash, an RFA who established career marks in assists (17) and points (25), a one-year $1.15 million deal for the 2015-16 season was offered and accepted.

“Riley gives the Hurricanes good depth at center,” Francis said of the former prospect who was acquired via a trade with the Edmonton Oilers back in June 2010.

“He now has two full NHL seasons under his belt and we look forward to seeing him continue to grow as a player.”

Nash, 26, played in 68 games with the Hurricanes in 2014-15, his second full season in the NHL, giving him career totals of 22 goals, 37 assists (59 points) in 178 career NHL games played with the Hurricanes since making his NHL debut during the 2011-12 season.

Rissanen was signed to a one-year, two-way contract that would pay him $575,000 in the NHL or $125,000 in the American Hockey League (AHL) in 2015-16,

The deal included a guarantee of $150,000.

“Rasmus has continued to progress, and saw his first NHL action last season before getting hurt,” Francis noted.

“He is a big man and gives us depth along the blueline.”

Rissanen, 23, split the 2014-15 season between Charlotte (AHL) and Carolina, appearing in six games at the NHL level.

The Kuopio, Finland, native totaled a career-high 11 points (1g, 10a) and 62 penalty minutes in 52 games for the Checkers prior to receiving his first NHL recall on March 2.

He made his NHL debut against the Minnesota Wild on March 6, but was injured played at Columbus on March 15, and missed the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

Carolina’s sixth round selection (178th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Rissanen is the Checkers’ second all-time leader in games played, having appeared in 240 career AHL games with Charlotte, totaling 36 points (7g, 29a).

Rissanen possesses international experience representing Finland in several international competitions, including the 2008 U-18 World Junior Championship and the 2011 World Junior Championship.

In signing a three-year, entry-level contract, and receiving a signing bonus of $277,500, Slavin will immediately report to Charlotte.

His first pro contract will pay him $832,500 per season at the NHL level or $70,000 at the AHL level beginning in 2015-2016.

“Improving our prospect depth at defense is a priority for our organization, and we felt that it was important for Jacob to begin his professional career,” Francis said.

“He really improved his game during the second half of last season and we look forward to monitoring his development.”

Slavin, 20, completed his second season for Colorado College of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) in 2014-15, and earned first-team All-NCHC honors after totaling 17 points (5g, 12a) in 34 games for the Tigers.

The six-foot-two-inch, 200-pound blueliner finished his collegiate career with 42 points (10g, 32a) in 66 games for Colorado College after being eliminated from the NCHC playoffs by No. 1 North Dakota.

Slavin, the Hurricanes’ fourth round pick (120th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft was named NCHC Rookie of the Year in 2013-14, after leading the Tigers in points (25) and assists (20) as a freshman.

Prior to beginning his collegiate career, Slavin spent three seasons with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League (USHL), notching 64 points (9g, 55a) in 139 games, and also represented the United States at the 2014 World Junior Championship in Sweden, totaling two points (1g, 1a) in five games.

The fourth signing of the day, Carolina inked Hensick to a one-year, two-way contract that will pay him $600,000 in the NHL, or $250,000 in the AHL in 2015-16.

Hensick, 29, led the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs in scoring in 2014-15, scoring 19 goals and 41 assists (60 points) in 75 games played.

“T.J. is a good playmaking forward who adds depth to our organization,” Francis said.

The compact forward, standing at five-feet-nine-inches tall and 170 pounds, also led Hamilton in assists (41) and posted 12 multi-point efforts for the Bulldogs.

Originally selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the third round (88th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Hensick has appeared in 112 career NHL games with Colorado and St. Louis, with 12 goals and 26 assists (38 points) to his credit, including a two-game appearance in Stanley Cup playoff games for the Avalanche in 2008, during which he earned one assist.