The NHL trade deadline is now just 3 weeks away and obviously the Carolina Hurricanes are heavily tilted toward the seller portion of the scale. But the question remains, who stays, who goes and what is the return for the players that are traded? This will be this organization’s sixth straight year without a playoff appearance and depending on who stays and goes, a marginal to significant roster overhaul needs to happen. While draft picks are always nice, they typically take a couple of years before even reaching the NHL, so my thought is that this organization really needs to look at close-to-ready prospects that can contribute sooner rather than later.
So I have tried to come up with some trade ideas that I think could help this team in the short-term and/or long-term. This is not to imply that any of these trades will/should happen, these are just my thoughts. I have attempted to propose realistic trade ideas and be, in my mind, as fair as possible to both teams. While some might not agree with my proposals, I’ve tried to look at other teams needs and take clues from news articles and the rumor mill. Each trade comes with an explanation as to why I believe it could happen and what benefit it would serve each team. So I hope you at least find this entertaining and would love to hear your thoughts on my proposals and maybe even some of your trade proposals.
Andrej Sekera & Patrick Dwyer
Carolina trades Andrej Sekera & Patrick Dwyer to Los Angeles for Derek Forbort, Trevor Lewis & the Kings 2015 3rd Round Pick.
Why Los Angeles does it:
The Kings are currently struggling and find themselves on the outside looking in. If everything stays the course, Los Angeles will be the first defending Champs to miss the playoffs since the 06/07 Hurricanes. It’s believed that L.A. is searching for a top 4 defenseman to help replace Slava Voynov. Sekera isn’t the offensive defenseman that Voynov is, but he plays a complete all-around game and is possibly the best available defenseman out there. Sekera could slot anywhere in the Kings top 4 and can contribute on Los Angeles poor PK. But what might be most important, Sekera’s low cap hit could fit into L.A.’s very tight cap situation. The reason I included Dwyer is two-fold. As I mentioned, the Kings have a poor PK, currently ranked 26th in the league. Dwyer plays over 2 short-handed minutes a night for the Canes and along with Sekera, should be able to help improve L.A.’s PK. The other reason is swapping Lewis for Dwyer and freeing up some cap space for the Kings. Not only are things tight this year, but their tight next year with the UFA’s and RFA’s they need to resign. Lewis has a $1.525 million cap hit and another year left on his deal. While he is a versatile, hard-working, fan favorite guy, he could be replaced for under $1 million and open up a little more cap space for the Kings to use toward other players.
Why Carolina does it:
In my opinion, Carolina needs some help on the blueline and if they can’t resign Sekera, they need a lot of help on the blueline. Forbort won’t be able to come in and replace Sekera, but the former 1st rounder has future top 4 written all over him. He big, can skate and has a well-rounded game while really focusing on his own zone. L.A. would probably rather not give him up, but their time is now and getting a player like Sekera cost something. I would imagine that Forbort could get some NHL time the rest of this season and play at least bottom pairing minutes next year. In the future, I really could see him as a great playing partner for Faulk. I think their styles would complement each other well. Lewis would essentially be a replacement for Dwyer. He’s a little more versatile than Dwyer, but is also a little more expensive. The 3rd round pick is likely a mid-to-late round pick that depending on scouting, could be useful in developing the organizations depth.
Another option: Carolina trades Andrej Sekera & Patrick Dwyer to Tampa Bay for Brett Connolly & the Lightning 2015 1st Round Pick.
Carolina trades Jiri Tlusty & a 2016 Conditional 4th Round Pick to Anaheim for Emerson Etem & the Canucks 2015 3rd Round Pick. (The Ducks get Carolina 2016 4th Round Pick if Anaheim doesn’t make it to the Western Conference Finals or doesn’t resign Jiri Tlusty.)
Why Anaheim does it:
Anaheim is currently the top team in the NHL and is a true Stanley Cup Finals contender. They have a good shot of going for it all and Tlusty could be a nice addition to their team. Tlusty contributes on both special teams and can play either wing in the top 9. He plays a solid two-way game and has the ability to get to the scoring areas, but he’s usually better with skilled line mates. The Ducks have often rotated who plays LW with Ryan Getzalf and Corey Perry, Tlusty would appear to be a nice fit there. Anaheim has a nice mix of players with some higher price veterans and cheaper younger guys. They potential have the cap room to resign Tlusty if they want. The 2016 conditional 4th is based upon Anaheim giving up a cost-controlled prospect & draft pick for Tlusty. If they make it to the Conference Finals or resign Tlusty, Carolina keeps that pick.
Why Carolina does it:
Tlusty is a good player that fits well in Carolina, but he’s a UFA and the Canes can’t afford to lose him for nothing. Etem is a highly rated prospect that has proven he can score at the AHL level, 53 goals in 125 games. He’s even got 15 goals in 105 games at the NHL level, but he just can’t get substantial ice time and stay up with the talented Ducks team. Given that he will likely have to battle Nick Ritchie and others for playing time next season, it makes for a difficult situation. In Carolina, he would likely be given more ice time and can play on the right side (supposedly his preferred side). Carolina could always use more scoring and Etem should develop into a top 6 winger. The 3rd round pick is likely in the middle of the round and could be used for organization depth.
Another option: Carolina trade Jiri Tlusty to Montreal for Greg Pateryn & the Canadiens 2015 2nd Round Pick.
Carolina trades Cam Ward & Keegan Lowe to Edmonton for Martin Marincin, Viktor Fasth & a Conditional 2016 4th Round Pick. (The Hurricanes get the Oilers 2016 3nd Round Pick if Ward wins 25 games in 15/16, they get the Oilers 2016 4th Round Pick if Ward doesn’t win 25 games.)
Why Edmonton does it:
Edmonton is a team that was expected to be much improved, but things haven’t gone to plan. While they probably need more than just a good goalie, Ward would likely be an upgrade. His save percentage and goals against average are higher than either current Oiler goalie. He would also provide some veteran leadership to a younger team and hopefully help stabilize a team that has some pieces and needs to take the next step. Ward’s cost is quite expensive and is likely the biggest stumbling block, but the Oilers could afford him. Lowe is just a defensive prospect/project, but he is Oilers President Kevin Lowe’s son. Keegan has more development to do, but offers a rough and tumble still on the backend. Both Carolina assets are also from the Edmonton area and we’ve all heard the rumors how difficult it is for the Oilers to attract players. Fasth is a UFA at the end of the season, so Edmonton will probably lose him in free agency. Marincin is an interested prospect that has gotten some time the past couple of years with the big squad. I’m just not sure that he has a future in the Copper & Blue. The conditional pick is a mid-round pick and will depend on Ward’s performance.
Why Carolina does it:
The biggest thing for Carolina here is opening up cap space and salary by moving Ward. Fasth would basically be the Canes back-up the rest of this season with a chance of being resigned for next season. He has abilities and I think he could be better than he’s shown in Edmonton, but the trail the rest of the season will really answer some questions. Marincin’s got nice size, but he is more about positioning than physicality. He has shown some promise, particularly last season, but I’m not sure where he really ends up. I would imagine that he could be a bottom pairing guy or 7th defenseman with the Hurricanes. The draft pick in 2016 could be used for building depth in the organization. Saying goodbye to Ward would be tough, but it allows Ron Francis to do so much more. $8.5 million in cap space dedicated to the goaltending position is too much when this team needs to improve other areas.
Another option: Carolina trades Cam Ward with 16% retained to Edmonton for Martin Marincin & the Senators 2015 3rd Round Pick.
Carolina trades Jay McClement & the Hurricanes 2015 5th Round Pick to the New York Islanders for Sebastian Collberg & a Conditional 2015 4th Round Pick. (Carolina gets the Islander 2015 4th Round Pick if New York wins a playoff series.)
Why New York does it:
The Islanders have a good team this year and a chance to make some noise in the playoffs. But a big weakness is their 30th ranked PK. In the playoffs, the PK can mean the difference between winning a series and not. While Casey Cizikas is a good player, he isn’t the 4th line center/PKer that McClement is. McClement is a key part of the Hurricanes #2 ranked PK and he’s also a top 15 faceoff man in the league. McClement would also provide a veteran presence to a team full of young players. Cizikas could always move over to wing or fill in on another line due to injury. Moving Collberg would be difficult as he was part of the Vanek trade, but it seems they have soured a bit on him. New York’s system is also pretty full on RW, so they need to replenish the cupboard for about 3 or 4 years from now. The 5th round pick will be near the top of the round and it would likely take that prospect a few years before being NHL-ready. So they give up a prospect that is likely stuck in the AHL for a while for someone that could help them immediately with a playoff run.
Why Carolina does it:
McClement is a UFA and his role is usually sought after for a playoff run. He has done well in his role, but could potentially be resigned this summer if he wants to return. Carolina needs to greatly improve the organizations talent level and depth. The Canes have had some success with Swedish players and Bill Peters, coming from the Red Wings organization, has coached a number of Swedish players. Collberg hasn’t necessary played/progressed as expected, but he still very skilled and has speed. He also addresses a weakness in the prospect pool along the right side. Giving up a pick for a rebuilding team is tough, but a 5th rounder is marginal at best and would likely take a lot longer to develop than Collberg will. And if the Islanders make it past the 1st round of the playoffs, the Canes actually improve on that 5th round pick. It’s basically giving up a role playing UFA and not-likely draft pick for a skilled, out of favored prospect.
Another option: Carolina trades Jay McClement to Calgary for the Flames 2015 5th Round Pick.
Carolina trades Tim Gleason & the Hurricanes 2015 3rd Round Pick to Montreal for Alexei Emelin.
Why Montreal does it:
Montreal GM Marc Bergevin has already made a number of moves with his eye on next year’s cap number. Emelin is a defenseman with a $4.1 million cap number for 3 years after this one. He’s a big, physical defenseman that isn’t really fitting into the Habs style of play. He’s been regulated to bottom pairing minutes, but should probably be a middle pairing guy. Moving him opens up cap space and a spot for one of the Habs defensive prospects. Gleason would help fill the void this season and comes off the books at the end of the year. Gleason is a physical bottom pairing guy now and only cost $1.2 million, allowing Montreal to use that money elsewhere if they desire. The 2015 3rd will be near the top of the round and offers some futures to the Canadiens for Emelin.
Why Carolina does it:
If Carolina does indeed lose Sekera, the team’s defense is in a world of hurt. Emelin might not be everybody’s first choice, but the Canes will have limited options. Emelin is a big guy that hits and can move the puck. He doesn’t have the best decision making, but could potentially be a #4 guy in Carolina. Hopefully the Hurricanes can acquire some defensive prospects that are going to be able to play a significant role. But they’ll take some time to develop and a guy like Emelin could give them a little time, then fall back into a bottom pairing role. Emelin’s $4.1 cap hit won’t hurt that much if they can move someone like Ward and have a couple of defensemen on entry-level deals. The 3rd round pick could be useful, but that prospect is still likely 2 to 3 years away at minimum. The Canes will need defensive help before that, given that the defensive prospect pool is really weak.
Another option: Carolina trade Tim Gleason to Chicago for Tim Erixon & the Blackhawks 2015 5th Round Pick.
So in my hypothetical world, after the trade deadline, here are the changes. The Canes added D-Derek Forbort, RW-Trevor Lewis, RW/LW-Emerson Etem, D-Martin Marcinin, G-Viktor Fasth, RW-Sebastian Collberg, D-Alexei Emelin, two 2015 3rd Round Picks, a Conditional 2015 5th Round Pick and a Conditional 2016 4th Round Pick. The Canes lost D-Andrej Sekera, RW-Patrick Dwyer, LW/RW-Jiri Tlusty, G-Cam Ward, D-Keegan Lowe, C-Jay McClement, D-Tim Gleason, a 2015 3rd Round Pick, a 2015 5th Round Pick and a Conditional 2016 4th Round Pick.
Again, this is all speculation and the chance any of this actually happens is probably slim. But what do you think? Do these proposed trades make sense and seem fair? What are your proposed trades?