The Carolina Hurricanes’ offense was dealt another blow today when Jordan Staal was diagnosed with a concussion, ruling him out for at least a few days if not longer. Staal hasn’t been a dominant scoring presence, but was still logging big minutes as a reliable two-way center that could play in all situations. What Carolina has been searching for all season—and likely even longer than that—has been a top-six forward that can really change the look of their group and provide some instant offense. Tonight, the panel of Insider Trading on TSN focused on the Hurricanes and Pierre LeBrun noted that the team is still desperately trying to upgrade their forward group:
Carolina, which really, really, really wanted to get in on William Nylander but never really got that shot, they want a top-six forward ASAP. They’ve got the surplus on defense to make it happen.
The Hurricanes never really got that shot at Nylander because the Toronto Maple Leafs ended up signing their young forward at the last minute, but reports had surfaced for weeks that GM Don Waddell had made it clear to them he was interested. That comes as no surprise, given Carolina’s obvious need for a goal scoring talent to move into the group with Sebastian Aho and company if they want to really make a run at the postseason.
Carolina of course sent Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm packing in the offseason in two separate trades, bringing back just Micheal Ferland as a forward option. While Ferland has been as good as anyone could have hoped, he’s also missed time with a concussion and doesn’t have the top end potential like a player of Nylander’s caliber. That’s what the Hurricanes seem to be looking for, but whether they’ll get it or not is still to be seen.
A team connected to them by the TSN panel is the Anaheim Ducks, who according to Darren Dreger are looking for a left-handed shot defenseman. The Ducks recently sent away exactly that in Marcus Pettersson, but perhaps they felt there was a need for an upgrade even before trading him for Daniel Sprong. Even with Noah Hanifin now in Calgary, the Hurricanes still have an excess of left-handed options, as Jake Bean looks close to ready to compete at the NHL level. Jaccob Slavin, Calvin de Haan and Haydn Fleury are the other three lefties on the roster, though all three hold plenty of trade value.
There is little reason to think that Anaheim would be the only team interested in Carolina’s defense, especially as the trade deadline approaches. If they do decide to make one of their top names available, there should be plenty of offensive options on the table.