NHL Rumors: Insider Predicts Futures Of Brett Pesce & Brady Skjei

Regardless of what happens in this spring's Stanley Cup Playoffs—and they are a potential favorite to have a shot at the Cup—the Carolina Hurricanes have a very, very busy summer ahead of them.  With a slew of free agents in the offing, finding a way to appease the majority of them under the salary cap will be very difficult indeed.

Two of their top UFAs will be top-four defense pairing Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei.

They've got a lot of players that need to be signed this summer that still are not yet signed. It's believed they offered Pesce five (years) times $5 million (AAV) a year ago, and it didn't happen... It seems unlikely that Pesce is going to stay. 

The 29-year-old right shot D-man has been the subject of trade rumors for the better part of a year now with his contract coming up this summer, and recently he's been tied to the Toronto Maple Leafs in free agency, per Luke Fox of Sportsnet. 

Pesce's defense partner of the last few seasons, Skjei, is also up for renewal, and his situation is more up in the air, according to Friedman.

"There's been times I've heard he's going to stay, there's been times I've heard they're not gonna get it done… I heard they had a couple of unique offers to (Skjei) but at this point in time it's still not done." 

No less than nine players are set to become unrestricted free agents this summer for the Hurricanes, not the least of which, outside of Pesce and Skjei, include the very pricey Jake Guentzel and Teuvo Teravainen. And Martin NecasSeth Jarvis and Jack Drury are set to become RFAs.

In addition, Friedman believes that they've also got an eye on the summer of 2025, when both Jaccob Slavin and Brent Burns will be set to become UFAs as well, and are thinking about how to conserve some financial wiggle room for them as well.

So a lot of contracts to deal with for GM Don Waddell, but only so much room under the cap. It sounds, at this point, like Pesce, and maybe even Skjei, could be victims of the cap squeeze.

Photo: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports