The AHL trade deadline frenzy continues, this time with the Carolina Hurricanes adding some interesting defensive depth from the New York Rangers. The Hurricanes have acquired Tarmo Reunanen in exchange for Maxim Letunov. Because this deal was done after the NHL trade deadline, both players are no longer eligible to play in the NHL this season. They can however continue to play in the AHL, where they will report to their new teams.
Reunanen, 24, is in the final year of his entry-level contract, originally signed with the Rangers in 2019, and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. The fourth-round pick actually played in four NHL games last season, but has been limited to minor league action this time around, recording 17 points in 40 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack. He’ll now join the Chicago Wolves, who happen to be the best team in the AHL so far, sitting first in the Central Division with a 39-11-10 record.
This is an interesting move for the Hurricanes because of Reunanen’s contract status, even though he could potentially return to Finland in the offseason. Adding an RFA for Letunov, who will be a Group VI unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, seems like at the very least a nice swap of assets for Carolina.
The 26-year-old Letunov has been a good minor league player over the last few years, but has seen his offensive output drop considerably this season. In 60 games with the Wolves he had just 23 points, something that will be easily replaced by Richard Panik, who was also loaned to the team today from the Bridgeport Islanders.
That’s not to say the Hartford Wolf Pack are throwing in the towel, though. Letunov was a second-round pick in 2014 and has shown a scoring touch in the past, even reaching 40 points in 50 games during the 2019-20 season. That same season he managed three games with the San Jose Sharks, where he scored his first (and only) NHL goal. With Hartford still firmly in the playoff chase in the AHL’s Atlantic Division, he should help their offensive output down the stretch.