Metropolitan Notes: Hurricanes, Zucker, Jiricek

Hurricanes GM Don Waddell indicated to Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer that he expects to reach a settlement with defenseman Maxime Lajoie in advance of Tuesday’s arbitration hearing. The 24-year-old spent most of the season in the minors so a new agreement shouldn’t be hard to come to. What’s notable is that once that new deal is reached, Carolina will get their second buyout window soon after and Waddell didn’t rule out the possibility of using it but noted that they could make things work without going that route. A player must make $4MM to be eligible to be bought out in this window and blueliner Jake Gardiner – who missed all of last season with back and hip issues – makes $4.05MM. He has been cleared to return which makes him eligible to be bought out. Once Lajoie’s deal is signed, the buyout window will open three days later and last 48 hours.

More from the Metropolitan:

  • Penguins winger Jason Zucker has recovered from the series of lower-body injuries that plagued him in the second half of last season, notes NHL.com’s Jessi Pierce. It has been a tough go for the 30-year-old who has recorded just 47 points in 94 games since being acquired by Pittsburgh just before the 2020 trade deadline. Next season will be a contract year for Zucker and unless he can get back to the form he had with Minnesota, he’ll be looking at a considerably cheaper deal next summer compared to his current $5.5MM AAV.
  • Blue Jackets prospect David Jiricek has been cleared to join the Czechs for the upcoming World Juniors, their hockey federation announced (Twitter link). The 18-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 late last month and was not able to travel with the rest of the team to begin tournament preparations. Jiricek, the sixth-overall pick last month, will be Czechia’s top defenseman in this event and a strong performance could help get him in the mix for a roster spot with Columbus for the upcoming season.

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