After watching the Canes/Capital game last night, it has become even more evident to me that some roster changes are needed to get this team where they need to be. I know the Canes are suffering through a number of injuries right now, but every organization deals with injuries and the Canes don't appear to have the depth needed to compensate.
While a 3rd line center & defensive defenseman have been the talk all season and those are positions of need. The thing that I think would really help the Canes would be some added size that can play more than 5 minutes a night. A player like Kevin Westgarth is nice for fighting, but the Canes need someone that can be physical without fighting and someone who can contribute offensively or defensively. So I decided to put some hypothetical trade proposals together along with why I believe some current Canes need to be moved.
One of the Canes biggest needs is a defensive defenseman, Murray fits that bill. He's 6'3", weighs over 240 lbs, and generally averages 2 hits & 2 blocks per game. He is in the last year of his contract (making $2.5 million) and is 8th on the Sharks defense is TOI per game (only 16:40 per game). He's not going to put up hardly any points, but the Canes have plenty of offensive defensemen to handle that. Murray would be the physical defenseman the Canes need!
San Jose is rumored to be looking for some forward help and Jussi could potential fit that need at an affordable salary. Jussi can play any forward position and can move up and down the lines. He has the abilities to be a 0.50+ PPG player, but it seems as if he might need a change of scenery. He's a pretty good shootout guy (which seems to happen in the Western Conference more than the Eastern Conference) and he was pretty good in the Playoffs of 2009.
It's basically a need for need swap and could benefit the Canes after the season because Jussi's contract would be off the books. If this trade were to happen, it would finally address the physical defenseman position vacated by Bryan Allen.
Nino is still a young player that is more potential than proven right now, but there is a lot to like about his game. He has the size the Canes need to add to the forward ranks and he also comes along with skill that should make him a top 9 player. It has been reported that he requested a trade and he has been putting up solid numbers in the AHL this season. In theory, he should be a good fit on the Canes 3rd line with the possiblity of moving up in the future. He didn't produce a lot of points last season with the Islanders, but he was 4th on the team in hits with 129 in only 55 games. With continued development, he should round into a solid all-around player.
Some would say this is an overpayment by the Canes (and admittedly, I am now a McBain fan), but Nino has the potential to be a real good player with size and the Canes have numerous offensive defenseman in their system. The Isles are possibly losing their top 2 offensive defensemen (Streit & Visnovsky) to free agency after this season and McBain could be a nice top 4 defenseman for this young team. His offensive abilities could be a nice addition to an already productive Islander PP.
This would be a trade that looks to address the future more than now, but both players could contribute right away. Adding size to the Canes forward ranks would allow them to match up better against bigger teams like Washington & Winnipeg. And if Nino actually worked out, it could make Ruutu expendable or allow the Canes to have 2 physical forwards.
So what do you think? Would these hypothetical trades work for you? Is there any possibility of them happening? Are there other players that you think are realistic targers? Let me know.