Bunting will make $4.5 million against the salary cap per season. He was on a mild two-year deal that carried an average-annual value of $950,000. The Hurricanes previously signed Dmitry Orlov of the Boston Bruins, the top defenseman on the free-agent market, to a two-year deal with a $7.75 million AAV.
He topped 20 goals in each of the last two seasons with the Maple Leafs after totaling just 11 in two seasons with the Arizona Coyotes.
A 2014 fourth-round pick of the Coyotes, Bunting is best used as an agitating forward who can get to the front of the net and clean up rebounds while playing with a team's top liners. He topped 80 minutes in penalties in each of the last seasons with Toronto, and he is not afraid to mix it up with the opposition in either zone. Bunting plays bigger than his 6-foot, 192-pound frame and can be an offensive asset on a team's first or second line.
The Toronto-area native was criticized down the stretch for taking ill-timed penalties that culminated in Bunting earned a three-game suspension during the Leafs' playoff run last spring for an illegal check to the head of Tampa Bay defenseman Erik Cernak.
ESPN's Kristen Shilton contributed to this report