A day after adding depth forward Steven Goertzen and re-signing minor leaguers defenseman Casey Borer and goalie Justin Peters, the Carolina Hurricanes added defenseman Jay Harrison.
Harrison was signed to a one-year, two-way contract that would pay him $500,000 at the NHL level and $125,000 in the AHL, with $175,000 guaranteed.
“Jay is a big defenseman who has been a depth player in the Toronto system since turning professional,” said Jason Karmanos, executive director of hockey operations, in a statement. “His size and experience should allow him to compete for a roster spot with the Hurricanes next season.”
The 26-year-old played most of last season with Zug of the Swiss National League, though he played seven games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he collected an assist and had 10 penalty minutes.
With Zug, in 41 games, he scored six goals and nine assists, and had 96 penalty minutes.
The Leafs drafted the Oshawa, Ont., native in the third round (82nd overall) of the 2001 draft, and he’s played in the NHL in three of the last four seasons.
Adding Harrison, in theory, shouldn't preclude the Hurricanes from adding a veteran defenseman as Karmanos said the team was working on Wednesday. It's also possible that the team will find a way to keep defenseman Anton Babchuk.
Babchuk, a restricted free agent, wants more than $1 million he was offered. The restricted free agent lost his arbitration rights when he played his entire 2007-08 season in Russia.
Babchuk scored 16 goals this season, which ranks him in the top eight in the NHL among defenseman. He was also a +13, tops among Carolina defensemen. Those are two big reasons he thinks he should get a raise this season, even if others disagree.
It will be interesting to see if Babchuk is offered much more than the Hurricanes have. If not, he may come back to the Hurricanes on his own, if the team hasn't already signed someone else.