The Carolina Hurricanes are by no means out of the playoff hunt. Afterall, they have won two in a row and currently are clinging to the second and final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. However, the team might end up being sellers at the trade deadline as the young team have quite a few trade chips that could help this team down the road, according to The Athletic’s Eric Duhatschek (subscription required).
The scribe writes that the Hurricanes have quite a bit of depth on the blueline and it should get deeper soon. The team already has captain Justin Faulk leading the defense and although he’s not having as good of a campaign as a year ago, he might make for a good trade chip especially as the defensive salary cap will rise for the team next season. Carolina already have Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce under contract and both their extensions will kick in next year at a combined $9.325MM. Defenseman Noah Hanifin will be a restricted free agent next year and should get a solid raise. The team has rookie Haydn Fleury back next year and likely will have 2016 first-rounder Jake Bean coming in. This might be the right time to make a move for a scoring forward.
Duhatschek also notes that the team, who recently waived Marcus Kruger and Josh Jooris, could also look to move another pair of veterans at the deadline including Derek Ryan and Lee Stempniak. Ryan is an excellent face-off specialist and would make a solid bottom-six center and is an excellent story, while Stempniak, is starting to find his groove after missing much of the season. Ryan has 11 goals and 26 points this season, while Stempniak has played in just 14 games, but has one goal and five assists so far.
- The New York Post’s Larry Brooks writes that New York Rangers winger Rick Nash has set his 12-team trade approved list and the veteran revealed that he chose teams based on their chances to win the Stanley Cup this season. “I included the teams that I think have the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup and are also places I think would be good for my family,” the 33-year-old father of two young children said. “And, yes, that does include teams in Canada. I’m not excluding that as a possibility.” Nash says he would consider changing the list if a certain team not on the list shows interest in him. Brooks adds that several teams have shown interest including the Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins, Winnipeg Jets, Tampa Bay Lightning and possibly the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- Brooks also notes that the Tampa Bay Lightning have quite a bit of interest in adding defenseman Ryan McDonagh at the trade deadline. They believe that with Victor Hedman and McDonagh at the blueline, the chances Tampa Bay could win a Stanley Cup would increase heavily. However, the scribe notes that the Rangers should demand 19-year-old defensive rookie Mikhail Sergachev as the asking price for the veteran defenseman.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs have gotten some interest in veteran forward James van Riemsdyk recently, Sportsnet’s Mike Johnston said during Saturday’s Headlines’ segment on Hockey Night in Canada. Johnston said two teams were told they have no plans to trade van Riemsdyk before the deadline. The 28-year-old goal scorer, who has 22 goals so far this year, will be an unrestricted free agent this year, but according to Johnston, has not received any contract extension offers yet. Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos added on the segment that the main reason is because van Riemsdyk refuses to take a hometown discount.