First off, thank you to everybody that participated and submitted a trade proposal. We ended up with 29 specific proposals and I have narrowed it down to my 6 favorite for you to choose from. I did excluded non-specific proposals, because just picks and/or prospects was too vague for me to gauge. My criteria for choosing the finalist were whether or not the trade had some possibility of happening and whether or not I felt it was an immediate or future improvement for the Hurricanes. There were a couple of trades that I would classify as realistic that did not make the final 6 because I just didn't see the improvement for the Hurricanes.
As I mentioned in the earlier article, there may be 2 different winners. While the Readers winner will come from the 6 options listed below, the Staff winner will be selected from all 29 specific trade proposals submitted. So, just because your's didn't make this list doesn't mean you still can't win. Each winner will get a choice of a small prize of their choice. The prize options are a Canes Country T-Shirt, a Cam Ward Puck, a regular Hurricanes Puck, a 2008 Eric Staal Bobblehead, a 2014 Jeff Skinner Bobblehead or a 2014 Alexander Semin Bobblehead. And now on to the 6 Finalist, posted in the order they were received. The poll will close on Saturday, February 22nd at 8pm.
While this might not be the sexist return for Ward, this trade does offer some benefits to the Hurricanes. First, Hemsky is a very talented player that seems to have fallen out of favor with the Oilers. He was basically a point per game player for Edmonton 3 years ago, but has seen his ice time fall and his stats have corresponded. He could potentially be lined up with Jordan Staal, providing some additional offense and playmaking to that line. Could a change of scenery help him to rediscover his game, I'm not sure. Belov is another player that hasn't worked out great in Edmonton, but the guy has some ability. This is his first year in North America and the transition hasn't exactly been smooth, but he was thought highly enough to still make the Russian Olympic team and has a goal in limited ice time. He might need a little more time to adjust, but he could be a solid 3rd pairing defenseman for the Canes, providing all-around ability and a nice shot from the point.
But the biggest benefit of this trade proposal for the Canes would be shedding Ward's contract. While the cap hits would be pretty close the rest of this season, the Canes would be off the hook for the $13.5 million owed to Ward the next 2 seasons. That $13.5 million could be used to resign current players or become more of a player in the free agent market this summer. It would also probably lead to the anointment of Anton Khudobin as the team's official #1 goaltender. Ward is a good goalie, but it might be time for the Canes organization to move into a different direction. in Edmonton, his hometown, he could potentially help solidify a position of need without forcing the Oilers to give up any of their prized young talent. If Ward could return to form from a couple of years ago, Edmonton could really come out a winner in this trade and possibly get themselves back in playoffs.
Carolina needs to get tougher and adding Ott would certainly help with that. Ott is an extremely versatile guy that can play any forward position, can win faceoffs, will score some and will stick up for teammates. He could line up a center with Jeff Skinner to his left, forming a formidable 3rd line or he could play wing on a Jordan Staal line, providing additional toughness. He is a UFA at the end of the year, but if he works out and wants to stay, he could potentially be resigned at an affordable rate.
I'm not really sure if this would be Buffalo's ideal return for Ott, but it seems like a pretty fair deal. Ruutu is a player that always gives maximum effort and he is a great model for younger players. He also has some ability and if he can get past his hip injuries, his versatility could be a benefit to a young team. His contract, while a burden to most, could be helpful to a rebuilding team trying to reach the cap floor. Nash is sort of a throw-in here, but he can be a decent bottom 6 forward. He has shown the ability to score and he plays a little on the PK. He might not be a high-end prospect, but he's another asset for a rebuilding team.
The rumor has it the Canes are in search of a 3rd line center and Backlund would be quite a haul. He's currently the rebuilding Flames 1st line center and is putting together a very solid season. He's a young, two-way guy that has 14 goals and 15 assists on the year. Those numbers would put him tied for 4th in points and tied for 2nd in goals on the Hurricanes. Backlund would most likely take over the 3rd line center role, potentially with Skinner as his winger. That might not be a traditional 3rd line, but it could be a dangerous one. While this trade proposal does fill one need, it creates another hole with the departure of Tlusty, so the Canes would have to find another LW to put beside Eric Staal and Alexander Semin.
For Calgary, they wouldn't get any top-notch player to help with their rebuild, but would get some solid pieces to help. Tlusty is a top 6 LW that has shown the ability to score. He is a RFA at the end of the season and could probably take over Mike Cammalleri's spot, if he ends up being traded. Nash is another young player that could play in the bottom 6, providing some size and a little scoring ability. And then there is risk/reward Justin Peters. You might could argue that Peters would be the Flames best goaltender, but the question is what Peters do you get? If he plays like he did in November and December, he probably is their best option. If it's outside of that time frame, he might not even be a NHL goalie. Since Calgary is really only playing for draft position, they could afford him the opportunity to prove himself. And if he succeeds, then Calgary has a goaltender to possibly build around.
This is a trade a really like because I really want to see the Canes add a physical player with some ability. McGinn is that type of player, albeit very streaky. He's sort of a younger, Ruutu type of player. I think he would look nice next to Jordan Staal and could be around for some time. Some believe he is an important piece in Colorado and others say that he is not a favorite of Patrick Roy. If the Canes could figure out a way of acquiring him, I am down for it, as long as it doesn't cost us a Staal, Semin, Skinner, Sekera or Faulk. The other player coming this way in the proposal is Hunwick. Hunwick has NHL experience, but is currently buried in the minors. Carolina would basically be eating his salary for the Avalanche, but he could be called up if needed.
Colorado would be getting Ruutu, a more expensive version of McGinn, but someone with more experience and is a little more versatile. Since the Avs are looking like playoff contenders, he might help out a young team and his salary isn't much of a problem to their cap. He would most likely play in their bottom 6, but could really play any forward position and would lead their team in number of hits. Harrison is non-sexy, bottom 6 defender, but he is solid and has proven to work well with younger defensemen, like Justin Faulk and Ryan Murphy. I believe Colorado could put Harrison with Tyson Barrie and this would help with Barrie's development. Harrison has 2 years left on his contract and it is at a very manageable $1.5 million per. I think Colorado might be wanting more in a deal for McGinn, but I think this could benefit both teams.
This is a very intriguing proposal here as Giordano has had a breakout season. He would instantly be a top 4 defenseman for the Canes and could become a leader on this team. Giordano has offensive abilities and a very strong work ethic. He isn't the biggest or most physical guy, but he lay some hits and block some shots. He's also signed at a good rate for 2 more seasons after this one. The 3rd Round pick is what it is. It could turn into a decent player or as many other Canes selections, never really materialize into much. Here again though, one of the biggest things for the Canes would be ridding themselves of Ward's contract and salary that could be used elsewhere.
Some Caniacs probably don't like the idea of moving Bellemore, but Giordano would be a huge upgrade. Brian Burke and the Flames would probably love the big guy and his physical style. He would be a young guy that could be used in the rebuild and would probably slot as a #4 defenseman for the Flames. They would also get to address they goaltending situation. While Ward has had his struggles as of late, I don't think many could say that he wouldn't be a upgrade to the Flames net. He's isn't young enough to really be part of their rebuild, but Ward would add some stability back there and give Calgary some time to find their goalie of the future. He would also help them get closer to reaching the salary cap floor.
This is definitely an "out there" trade, but one that is very interesting. Carolina would lose some scoring ability and be weakened at the LW position, but they should become more solid in 2 other areas. Voynov is a very good, young defenseman that would give the Canes 3 Olympic defensemen aged 27 or younger. If Ron Hainsey could be resigned, the Canes would have a pretty darn impressive top 4. Voynov is more of an offensive defenseman, but is pretty solid on both ends of the ice. He excels on the PP, which would be huge for Carolina and he can also play a lot of minutes, which could be helpful for Faulk and Sekera. Williams would also be a solid add. While he has struggled as of late, he is still a solid top 6 RW that is a really good possession player. He would make Carolina's 2nd line much better and more dangerous while also be defensively responsible. Williams has 1 year left on his contract and Voynov is signed through 2019.
LA would lose 2 very good players, but they would address one of their biggest problems. Not only would Skinner help with the Kings scoring problem, he would also be a true LW and allow for someone like Dustin Brown or Tyler Toffoli to move back to the right side. LA's team makeup would also cover up for Skinner's biggest weakness. Bowman would be a guy that sort of fits the LA system. I'm not sure he would see consistent playing time, but could be a 4th liner. Komisarek would be a right-handed depth defenseman for them. They seem playoff bound and Mike does have playoff experience. While I don't think this trade would really go down, it is one that I think would benefit both teams in pretty significant ways.