Muller's Vision for the Hurricanes: Finding a Wing for the Staal Brothers
The long term signing of Jordan Staal heralds a new era for the Hurricanes organization. Just a few months ago it was viewed as bordering on delusional to believe the Hurricanes could obtain Jordan Staal. Now the discussions are shifting to whether Parise or Suter will or will not accept long term offers from the Hurricanes.
These offers were noticed across the NHL. The 2012 UFA class is disappointingly weak. On the other hand, the 2013 UFA class is almost a Who's Who of NHL high quality players. Getzlaf and Perry come immediately to mind. One reason the Hurricanes' participation in the UFA Parise and Suter frenzy is so important is that NHL agents now have the Hurricanes on their radar for future UFAs. Perry and Getzlaf surely did not miss the fact the Hurricanes are now active at the highest levels.
For an upper tier wing, the opportunity to play with Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, and Ruutu has to be appealing. Which leads to the question, can the Hurricanes obtain a top six forward prior to the start of the 2012-2013 season?
The Hurricanes do appear to be in the Rick Nash hunt. Nash apparently has not listed the Hurricanes as a team for whom he will waive his no trade clause. Even so, the Hurricanes are continuing to push. Bobby Ryan is a more attainable trade, I believe. The Hurricanes organization seems to have a good working relationship with Anaheim. I am not a tremendous fan of Howson, and he seems to be overstating his case for Rick Nash. Bobby Ryan strikes me as a great fit for the Hurricanes. The signing of Joe Corvo gives the Hurricanes flexibility in offering defensemen in trade for Bobby Ryan. I suppose the question would be whether McBain or Murphy and a first round pick would yield Ryan; and if so, is that too much to pay?
I then began looking at other possible 50 point forwards who might potentially be available by trade. I come up with this list: (1) Ryan; (2) Nash; (3) Stafford; (4) Evander Kane; (5) Ryan Malone; (6) Gagner; (7) Hemsky; (8) Voracek; (9) Perry; (10) Getzlaf; (11) Oshie; (12) Ollie Jokinen; (13) Vrbata; (14) Doan; (15) Lupul; (16) Hartnell. Other than Ryan and Nash, the other choices have questions of whether they can be pried from their teams and whether they fit the Hurricanes desired mode of play. Among the young future stars, I would like to see the Hurricanes take a shot at (1) Johansen, (2) Zibanejad, and (3) Connolly. These three players would help the Hurricanes sooner or later.
It also seems to me that the more the Canes look outside the organization for a top six forward, the better Dalpe looks. He fits all the criteria set by the Hurricanes. If he comes to camp in the 200 lbs to 205 lb range; and if he has gained upper body strength, so that he's stronger on the puck, he can add the spark the Hurricanes need in the top six. Sooner rather than later Rask will be competing for a top six spot. I predict this season, however, Jim Rutherford and Muller are determined to make the playoffs. They are taking no chances; and will trade for a forward they like. Jordan Staal's signing made a splash. Adding a top six forward with name recognition would have a synergistic effect on the team and on the fanbase. Muller clearly has a vision for the team and the organization; and he's got the will to make that vision a reality.