Lemieux, 27, split last season between the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers after a deadline day trade sent him cross-country. The 6-foot-1, 213-pound troublemaking winger scored twice in 18 games for the Flyers after the trade and amassed a total of nine points and 74 penalty minutes in 45 games throughout last season.
Carolina will be Lemieux’s fifth NHL organization, and this is his first time switching teams via free agency. The son of four-time Stanley Cup champion Claude Lemieux had been traded four times in nine years since the Buffalo Sabres selected him with the 31st overall pick in 2014.
This isn’t the roster move most Hurricanes fans were bracing for. With the team linked to higher-profile names such as Erik Karlsson and Vladimir Tarasenko in recent days, as well as a rumored trade for Anthony DeAngelo (a former teammate of Lemieux’s with the New York Rangers), many thought the Hurricanes were in a holding pattern until they were able to fit in one more big move, one that will require some creative money management with the team boasting just $3.3M in projected cap space, per CapFriendly.
Those discussions haven’t stopped Carolina from making a depth add, evidently. Given the current state of Carolina’s wing depth, it seems unlikely Lemieux will be able to secure an everyday fourth-line role. It won’t be anything unusual for Lemieux, though, as he’s played more than 60 games in a season just once in his career.
He’ll battle for ice time with depth wingers like Jordan Martinook and Stefan Noesen, both of whom carry more scoring upside and played quite well for the Hurricanes down the stretch and into the playoffs for last season. He does provide an element of annoyance and tenacity that could give him an edge on getting into the lineup in some situations, though.
Lemieux will be an unrestricted free agent once again next summer.