Once upon a time, the Carolina Hurricanes had high hopes for both Zac Dalpe and Jeremy Welsh. Early Sunday morning, they instead became another footnote in the Canes’ shaky prospect development history when the two were dealt to Vancouver for a fourth-round pick and minor leaguer Kellan Tochkin.
Something had to give with both Dalpe and Welsh looking like they'd be on the outside looking in when Carolina makes its final roster cuts in the coming days. Welsh, who signed a two-year deal prior to last season after a stellar collegiate career at Union College and one game with the Hurricanes in 2011-12, was guaranteed $1 million this season on a one-way deal.
To shed Welsh's guaranteed contract, the Canes had to include Dalpe, a second-round pick in 2008 who was unable to crack the Hurricanes roster on a permanent basis and would have had to clear waivers to be assigned to Charlotte. He had signed a one-year, two-way deal this offseason coming off his three-year entry level contract.
The training camp play of free agent signee Nathan Gerbe has surely earned the former Sabres winger a roster spot that Dalpe was fighting for, while Welsh was outplayed by both Riley Nash and Brett Sutter for a bottom six center role.
The return for Carolina is minimal: the most valuable piece is the fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft, and the team also gets minor leaguer Kellan Tochkin, who will likely play in Charlotte (AHL) or Florida (ECHL) all of this season. He earns $55,000 this year in the minor leagues ($550,000 if he somehow makes it to the NHL) in the final year of the entry level deal he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Canucks before the 2011-12 season.
While it's not a terrible return for two players that were poised for the AHL, it's another prospect development disappointment for a team that once had high expectations for both players.
Here is the release from the team:
‘CANES ACQUIRE TOCHKIN, DRAFT PICK FROM CANUCKS
Carolina sends Zac Dalpe and Jeremy Welsh to Vancouver for prospect, fourth-round pick
RALEIGH, NC – Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has acquired forward Kellan Tochkin and a fourth-round selection in the 2014 NHL Draft in exchange for forwards Zac Dalpe and Jeremy Welsh.
Tochkin, 22, totaled 44 points (15g, 29a) and 61 penalty minutes in 56 games with the Missouri Mavericks of the Central Hockey League (CHL) in 2012-13. Originally signed by Vancouver as an undrafted free agent on July 27, 2009, Tochkin (5’10", 176 lbs.) played four seasons in the Western Hockey League (WHL) with Everett, Medicine Hat and Prince Albert prior to turning professional, totaling 243 points (91g, 152a) in 253 career WHL games. A native of Abbotsford, B.C., Tochkin led all WHL rookies in scoring in 2008-09 with 74 points (20g, 54a) in 72 games.