The Carolina Hurricanes have had a surplus of good young defensemen for years now. Just about every time a team was looking for help on the blue line, the Hurricanes were linked as a possible trade target. That’s what happens when you have potentially eight top-four options in the organization (including Haydn Fleury and Jake Bean), all 28 or younger. Now, even after the group finally came together and showed what they could do in the playoffs, the Hurricanes are still being targeted as a team that might want to move one of their defensemen. Frank Seravalli of TSN reports that Carolina GM Don Waddell is “getting calls left and right” on their right-handed group, especially Brett Pesce who the Hurricanes do not want to trade.
One possibility however is Justin Faulk, whose representatives the Hurricanes will meet with at the draft in Vancouver to have some initial discussions about an extension. Faulk, 27, is heading into the final year of his current deal and is an obvious option for the Hurricanes to trade if they wanted to move someone from the back end. Still, the team has made it clear that they would like to extend him if possible, something they certainly have the cap space to do if they choose. Even with a new contract due for Sebastian Aho the Hurricanes will have tons of room to do whatever they want this summer, as long as owner Tom Dundon approves the spending.
Seravalli points out that a similar meeting to speak about extension numbers took place last year for Carolina, that time with Elias Lindholm’s camp. It didn’t go well and Lindholm was traded to the Calgary Flames the next day. A few weeks after that, Lindholm signed a six-year extension with the Flames at a cap hit of $4.85MM and then proceeded to break out offensively while playing with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.
The Hurricanes are in a prime position as the draft approaches. The team found success on the ice this season, but still have four picks in the first two rounds and plenty of cap space to play with. Add in an overflowing prospect pool and more quality NHL defensemen than they can ice on any given night, and Waddell could have the rest of the league eating out of the palm of his hand on Friday night.