What do the Carolina Hurricanes need? That is quite the loaded question, isn't it? One might answer, what don't they need? Well a couple of weeks ago, our friends at Illegal Curve asked me that very question in regards to an article they were running about the upcoming trade deadline, so I answered it the best that I could. They also asked, "who is available that the Canes could offer in return?"
Here is a link to the complete, league-wide article. There are some good tidbits in there if you have time to read all of it. (The Southeast Division is near the bottom).
Right or wrong, this is what I had to say:
- Scoring: For whatever reason, goals have been hard to come by this year. Several of the forwards whom management was counting on for decent offensive production, have been “goal challenged”. Previous 20 and 30 goal scorers like Rod Brind’Amour, (8), Scott Walker, (3), Justin Williams, (3), Patrick Eaves, (1), and Sergei Samsonov, (9), are all behind where everyone thought they would be. Carolina would probably be thrilled to pick up a previous consistent goal scorer, like Antoine Vermette or Andy McDonald, (recently re-signed in St. Louis), for the right price. While both players are under-performing at the moment, perhaps a change of scenery would help their production.
- Grit: Tuomo Ruutu leads the team with 132 hits, (as of February 4th). The next closest forward has 77. That’s a huge difference. In my opinion, the Canes need a few more hitters like Ruutu if they want to be successful, especially in the post-season. They need more players who are willing to play with a physical edge to their game. Perhaps someone like Chris Neil would be a benefit or Evgeny Artyukhin?
- Size: The Canes have a bit of a smallish team and when they play the likes of Washington or Boston, the pure physical nature of the contest could wear them down. Over the course of a playoff series, I think size becomes even more of an issue. It’s not easy to acquire big, talented players, but it might be possible if the right deal is offered. Players I would target would be David Backes from St. Louis or maybe even Cody MacLeod from Colorado. But those players would be more difficult to obtain than a typical playoff rental and would have to be looked upon as long term acquisitions.
Frantisek Kaberle: The team is over-stocked with puck-moving defensemen and would love to trade Frantisek Kaberle. But the blueliner was put on waivers and cleared them about a month ago. His 2.2 million dollar contract through next year is a sticking point and his value is probably nil at the moment. (Has since been put on waivers again).
Draft Picks: Carolina could always trade draft picks, but under the current scenario would probably prefer not to. They certainly will not give up a 1st or 2nd rounder based upon just the possibility that they might slip into the eight spot in the East. My guess would be nothing higher than a 3rd rounder would be offered for any possible target. (recently threw in a 4rth rounder for Jussi Jokinen)
- Patrick Eaves: Patrick Eaves has been a bit of a disappointment. Management was advertising him as a 20 goal a year man and so far he has just one. (now has two) The forward has picked up his game recently while filling in for the injured Scott Walker, but it would not surprise me if he was held out as trade bait. One possibility- Eaves and Kaberle for Vermette?