With the trade deadline now less than two weeks away, we will be taking a closer look at the situation for each team over the coming weeks. Where do they stand, what do they need to do, and what assets do they have to fill those needs? Next up is a look at the Carolina Hurricanes.
There was a time not too long ago when the Hurricanes were annually in a state of limbo at the deadline; close enough to the playoffs to consider buying, but far enough away that they never ended up making it. That’s the exact situation they find themselves in this year as well, sitting just outside the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. Sure, Carolina has obvious talent and could potentially catch the several of the five Metropolitan teams ahead of them, but a bad week or two could also push them even further down the standings. Still, it appears as though they have at least one thing on their shopping list as the deadline approaches.
32-19-3, sixth in the Atlantic Division
Deadline Cap Space
$5.56MM in a full-season cap hit, 1/3 used salary cap retention slots, 44/50 contracts per CapFriendly
Upcoming Draft Picks
2020: CAR 1st, TOR 1st*, CAR 2nd, NYR 2nd, CAR 3rd, BUF 3rd, CAR 4th, CAR 7th, TOR 7th
2021: CAR 1st, CAR 2nd, CAR 3rd, CAR 4th, CAR 5th^, CAR 6th, CAR 7th, STL 7th
* – If Toronto’s first-round pick in 2020 is in the top-ten, the Maple Leafs will keep this selection and transfer their first-round choice (unprotected) in 2021 to Carolina as part of the Patrick Marleau trade.
^ –Vegas receives the 2021 5th round draft pick if Erik Haula is on the is on the Hurricanes’ roster past the 2019-20 season, and/or if Carolina trades Haula for one of the following: a player, multiple draft picks, or a draft pick in rounds 1 to 5. If no condition is met, no pick will be transferred.
The first thing to note about the Hurricanes when assessing their trade deadline ammunition, is how many draft picks they have this year. The team has amassed six selections in the first three rounds that can be used to add to their roster, limiting the amount of talent they would need to move. That’s not to say there aren’t some players potentially on the block however.
Things start with Jake Gardiner, who hasn’t been a very good fit since coming over from Toronto through free agency. The high-risk, high-reward defender has looked better of late, but rumors emerged early on that the team may decide to move on and find a better fit. Trading a defenseman less than a calendar year after signing him wouldn’t be out of the question for the Hurricanes, who parted with Calvin de Haan after just one season in Carolina.
There is also the aforementioned Haula, who is on an expiring contract and has been a healthy scratch this season. The 28-year old missed most of the 2018-19 campaign due to injury but did have a 29-goal season in his first year with the Golden Knights just prior. There would be interest in Haula if was made available.
If they get involved in something big, there are also plenty of interesting prospects in the minor leagues for the Hurricanes to deal from. Ryan Suzuki, Eetu Luostarinen, Dominik Bokk, Julien Gauthier, Janne Kuokkanen and others are all interesting, but it is Jake Bean that perhaps would bring about the most intrigue. The 21-year old defenseman was picked 13th overall in 2016, has dominated in the minor leagues but has still yet to really get an opportunity at the NHL level. You can bet that teams will be asking about him in any trade talks.
1) Dougie’s Replacement: No, you’re likely not going to find a direct replacement for Dougie Hamilton, who was performing at a Norris Trophy level before he went down to injury. But his absence has only increased the chatter about a defensive change in Carolina. The team has been looking all season, though their needs may have changed a bit from a depth addition to an impact player.
2) Scoring Touch: Somehow, even though Carolina has been working to add to their offense for years, they still lack some real firepower up front. The team scores enough goals as a whole with 181 through the first 56 games—not including the five they currently have tonight—but only Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov have more than 15 on the year. Nino Niederreiter’s touch around the net has vanished, and Ryan Dzingel is on pace for just 12 goals after scoring 26 last year. Adding a true finisher up front would only make their attack more lethal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.