Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce has spent eight seasons with the team after being drafted in the third round (66th overall) by the team in the 2013 NHL Draft. The Tarrytown, New York native has developed into a solid defensive defenseman who registered his highest point total in 2022-23 with 30 points. Pesce is entering the final year of a six-year, $24,150,000 that he signed with the team on August 1, 2017. The right-shot defenseman’s $4,025,000 salary cap hit is a great value, and the 28-year-old blue-liner will be sure to get a raise at the end of next season.
In preparation for Pesce’s contract year, the former University of New Hampshire star has changed agents and will now be represented by Judd Moldaver, Executive Vice President of Wasserman Hockey. Moldaver also represents high-salaried defensemen Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets ($9.58 million AAV) and Nashville Predators blue liner Roman Josi ($9.059 million AAV). Pesce would most likely be seeking a contract similar to newly acquired Blue Jackets defenseman Damon Severson who was traded by the Devils in a sign-and-trade on June 9. Severson signed for eight years and $50 million and a cap hit of $6.25 million. Severson totaled 33 points in 81 games this past season.
The Hurricanes have some decisions to make when it comes to their roster and might not be able to keep Pesce if his salary exceeds $6 million per season. Carolina has just under $25 million in cap space entering the off-season but have unrestricted free agents to consider and will likely look to improve the roster after a disappointing end to the last two seasons. Top defensemen Jacob Slavin and Brent Burns both have two years remaining on their contracts, while Brady Skjei has a year left. Calvin De Haan and Shayne Gostisbehere are unrestricted free agents. Forwards Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen are entering the last year of their deals and will be in the market for big-money contracts.
It is possible that Pesce will be included in trade discussions during the off-season, and teams looking to shore up their defense will be calling. The Ottawa Senators could be a team that inquires about Pesce. The Seattle Kraken and Detroit Red Wings could also be in the mix, along with the cellar dwellers in the league (Anaheim, Chicago, Arizona, and Montreal). Brett Pesce has played 557 games with Carolina and totaled 36 goals and 149 assists with a plus-82 rating, and in 2022-23, Pesce played 22 minutes of average time on ice. Teams will be very interested in Pesce if the Hurricanes seek to trade him before his contract expires.