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Breaking Down The Trades: Are The Carolina Hurricanes Playoff Bound?

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This was a new trade deadline year, with new objectives for the Carolina Hurricanes.  Unlike last season, when they traded away any asset possible who had an expiring contract, this year they tried to immediately improve the team. 

Jim Rutherford has high hopes for this squad.  The Carolina GM mentioned in his press conference on Monday that he wanted the team to not just slip into eighth place, he wanted them to be battling for the sixth or seventh position in the Eastern Conference.

The Canes were not necessarily overly active during the two week period before the trade deadline, but team officials feel like they upgraded the club with the couple of deals they were able to make.  Let's take a closer look:

First, they traded Ian White to San Jose for a second round pick, (2012).  Then they acquired Derek Joslin for a conditional pick future considerations.

In their next deal, they sent Ryan Carter, (injured) and a fifth round pick to Florida for Cory Stillman

Finally, the Canes exchanged Sergei Samsonov for Bryan Allen, also of the Florida Panthers.  

The net affect?

In essence Carolina exchanged defensemen -- Allen replaced White -- the former who is a bigger, more physical defenseman, something the team needed. 

They also, technically just exchanged Stillman for Samsonov.  While Samsonov is more of a puck possession player and puck handler, Stillman might be a better passer and plays more of a style that fits Paul Maurice's system. 

Stillman will also screen the goalie and try to tip pucks on the way to the net, something you did not see Samsonov doing very often.

Each of the players was earning about $3 million, (give or take some spare change), so the money turned out to be a wash, (except that Allen has another year on his contract, not necessarily a bad thing for Carolina).

The Canes lost a fifth round draft pick and an injured player who may or may not play again this season. 

They gained a second rounder, (2012) and a young restricted free agent defenseman who has looked promising so far in his short stay.  Carter will be unrestricted this summer and can always be re-signed.

Something Rutherford was not counting on during the festivities was losing defenseman Brett Carson to waivers.  The Canes were forced with making a decision to either keep Carson in Raleigh and have him sit in the press box the rest of the season as the team's number eight defenseman, or try to send him to Charlotte, where he could play and log major ice time while helping the affiliate team to their postseason.

They chose to try to send him to Charlotte.

Instead, the Calgary Flames claimed him.  It's good news for the blueliner, he will get NHL money the rest of the season.  Also, he will be unrestricted this summer and the Hurricanes could always try to re-acquire him if they want to.

But other than the short term loss of Carson, this looks like a win-win-win for Carolina.  Both of the major players acquired bring more of what the team needs than the players they replaced, a second rounder is certainly greater than a fifth rounder, and a restricted free agent defenseman is worth more than a, presently injured, unrestricted free agent fourth liner.

Will the new players be enough to help keep the Canes just above the playoff line, or possibly even move them up in the standings?  We will see.