The Carolina Hurricanes will return to action after the All-Star break with a Friday game against the Vegas Golden Knights. And, believe it or not, the squad from Raleigh is in the thick of it with a 24-20-6 for 54 points. That’s four behind the Pittsburgh Penguins and five ahead of the Rangers.
Assessing this team isn’t difficult, especially with the trade deadline looming, but general manager Don Waddell does have a lot on his plate.
Carolina has a glut of defencemen and some scoring assistance would be in order.
The Hurricanes have made some interesting trades and deals as of late, with the acquisition of Nino Niederreiter coming in a trade with the Minnesota Wild that sent Victor Rask the other way. It was a rare one-for-one swap and the Hurricanes got the better end of the deal.
Carolina also signed forward Jordan Martinook to a two-year contract extension Tuesday and topped off Teuvo Teravainen with a five-year extension about a week ago.
With those deals tabled, the question of Micheal Ferland remains.
A few teams are kicking the tires on Ferland, including the Edmonton Oilers, and right now he looks like the biggest piece of bait Carolina has apart from a defenceman. He needs a new deal in the summer and is purportedly far away from the club in terms of asking price. That puts a gulf in the discussions, which in turn puts a trade at the fore.
But, of course, it’s the D that counts.
And Carolina has a lot to offer, which is why they’ve been fielding calls. Brett Pesce has been the subject of some conversations, with Justin Faulk and Dougie Hamilton also of interest. It’s believed that the Hurricanes want to hold on to Pesce most of all, while Jaccob Slavin is almost entirely unreachable.
The Hurricanes have plenty of draft picks. They could use goaltending help, which may add a wrinkle to a deadline deal. Scott Darling is in the minors with a 15-team no trade list thanks to his asinine contract, while Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek will be UFAs this summer.
And, for the record, Carolina has a lot of cap space. They’ll need some of that to get the thriving Sebastian Aho signed to a long-term deal. Captain Justin Williams is also headed to free agency.
As you can see, the Hurricanes have a lot of business to take care of. For a team on the bubble, their next steps will be vital. If Waddell plays his cards right, he could set this team up for the future and finally turn them into contenders once more.
(Photo credit: NHL)