The Carolina Hurricanes have been one of the biggest early surprises of the 2018-19 season with a 6-3-1 record that trails only the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division. The team is in the top half of the league in goals for and against, led by top-ten NHL scorer Sebastian Aho and a top-six on defense that rivals anyone in the league. The Hurricanes are certainly not without flaws, special teams and goaltending to highlight a couple, but overall have been very impressive with one of the youngest rosters in the league. Yet, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun writes that new GM Don Waddell is “open for business”. Given the surplus of talented defenseman on the Carolina roster and in the system, Waddell simply has the luxury of fielding offers from D-needy teams and waiting for the right offer. Potentially on the block could be long-time ’Cane Justin Faulk, young Brett Pesce, or reliable Trevor van Riemsdyk. Each of Carolina’s top-six defensemen is signed through at least next season, making these three righties attractive long-term additions. Teams in search of a younger asset could also take a look at AHLers Haydn Fleury or Roland McKeown, long considered by many to be players that should be playing regular minutes in the NHL. Garrioch notes that the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers are among the teams most desperate for help on the right side of the blue line and adds fuel to the fire by reporting that Toronto GM Kyle Dubas was in attendance at the ’Canes last game. It has been rumored that Carolina could be the leading candidate to land disgruntled William Nylander, while Edmonton could be willing to part with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the right deal. Waddell’s first trade, in which he acquired Micheal Ferland and Dougie Hamilton from the Calgary Flames, has worked out nicely thus far. Can he do it again?
- It comes as no surprise that New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes is drawing trade interest. Despite his insistence that he would like to remain in New York, the one-year extension he signed this off-season said otherwise. The rebuilding Rangers are likely to deal Hayes, one of many younger centers on the roster, before he has the chance to walk as a free agent. Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports that many teams already have their eye on Hayes, implying that he may not last until the NHL Trade Deadline. Kypreos specifically names the Winnipeg Jets as a team in need of a center, after Paul Stastny’s unexpected departure this summer has left them short-handed down the middle. However, the Jets are not alone in that predicament; after losing Riley Nash to free agency and a failed preseason competition for the spot, the Boston Bruins could very much use a rental player at third-line pivot, while the trades of three different centers away from the club this summer has left the Arizona Coyotes thin at the position. These are just three of what is likely to be a list of more than a dozen suitors for the Rangers to choose between. Hayes’ days are numbered in New York.
- One name that could be a sneaky candidate to be the first notable trade victim of the regular season is Los Angeles Kings forward Tanner Pearson. The Kings are floundering this season, holders of the worst record in the Western Conference, and Pearson has been part of the problem. The 26-year-old winger has just one point through ten games and has looked like a shell of himself. In Pearson’s defense, the Kings have also cut his ice time somewhat and relegated him to the fourth line for a while, but only as a result of his poor performance. Yet, Pearson has totaled 36 points or more in each of the past three year and is quietly a very strong two-way player. It would not be a shock to see Pearson right the ship with a change of scenery, but the Kings would have to ensure that they don’t sell too low on the well-rounded forward. Trade inquiries come with the territory of a basement record though and L.A., needing to shake things up, may soon be tempted to give Pearson away for the right price.