The Carolina Hurricanes have been the target of much trade speculation ever since Thomas Dundon took over as owner and rapidly changed the front office. The team traded away Elias Lindholm, Noah Hanifin and Jeff Skinner in part because they were hoping for a new identity on the ice, but still found themselves struggling to stay relevant through the first part of the season. Recently, that has changed with a five-game winning streak that shot Carolina back into the playoff picture and now has them as potential buyers at the deadline. Still, one pending unrestricted free agent sits on the roster as a potential rental option for another contender out there.
Micheal Ferland was one of the more underrated pieces that came back in the Lindholm-Hanifin deal, but has performed admirably for the team and still sits second in goals with 12. The physical, bang-and-crash winger has dealt with injury but provided more than enough for his $1.75MM cap hit. It’s that cap hit that makes him so attractive on the trade market though, especially if the Hurricanes can’t get him under an extension for next year. Ferland is a pending unrestricted free agent and according to Elliotte Friedman in his latest 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet, the two sides are “far, far apart” in negotiations.
Friedman mentions the Pittsburgh Penguins and Edmonton Oilers as potential fits for Ferland at the deadline, though notes that there will be others. That makes sense given how Ferland has shown an ability to play up and down the lineup without dragging down talented linemates, and can offer a brand of hockey that is greatly coveted in the postseason. The 26-year old forward has 701 hits in 285 games and found his offensive stride last season when he recorded 21 goals and 41 points playing for long stretches beside Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. That kind of versatility is extremely valuable, especially when it comes with such a low salary cost.
It will be interesting to see how Carolina plays the trade deadline though, as they’re obviously in need of more goal scoring if they are to make a playoff run this year. Trading Ferland would certainly take one of their top options away, but if he’s going to walk in free agency anyway there’s little reason to keep him around.