With the NHL Draft few days away, several posts have popped up on this site about who to chose at #5. While this high of a pick may give us a potential superstar, moving down a few spots may be a better strategy given the current state of the Canes.
As it stands now, Canes roster is unbalanced in terms of both talent and money. While top 2 lines are good and can compete with anybody in this league, bottom 6 have can neither score nor intimidate with defense being another weak spot. Adding to this is a goaltending situation, where Cam commands a high salary but given that he is injury prone he needs a good backup, but the team cannot afford to spend much more money on the goalies. Add to this that our prospect pool is bare and has been rated #26 in the league and it is hard to see a way out of the current situation.
Given the state of the Canes I outlined above, taking a #5 prospect will only make our problems worse - the player will command a substantial salary preventing us from signing FAs we need to address holes in the roster and puts us in tricky cap situation in upcoming seasons. Most likely it will be a a highly gifted forward bolstering top 6, while our needs are elsewhere.
Trading a few spots down might be a way to achieve a more balanced roster. If JR can find a deal where we get a good gifted young player and a lower pick, we could get two good young players instead of just one. This is important for a team without prospect depth and remember that with this year draft being deep we can still draft an outstanding player. In my opinion, it may be preferable to ask for a forward from the other team, we can then draft a defensman and if we stay around #10 there should still be some excellent ones on the board.
JR has already signaled that he would not might consider moving down. I hope that he is getting actively involved trying to make the deal. Given that top5 are expecting to superstars, we might be able to fetch a good player from a team looking to move up a few spots. Where I disagree with JR is that he is asking for a defensman, while I advocate asking for a highly skilled young forward and drafting defensman with the lower pick. There are lots young forwards in the league and asking for one will make it easier for the deal to happen.
Ultimately, everything depends on whether a right deal can be found. I do not think we should move too many spots down so there are only a few teams with whom the deal can be made.
If the right deal cannot be done, then we should just pick up the best player available and JR should get to work in the summer and rebalance the roster via trades.