It is less than a week before the draft and rumors are running rampant around the NHL.
In Elliotte Friedman's weekly "30 Thoughts" posted yesterday, he mentions that the Hurricanes are tossing Jeff Skinner's name out there.
15. Skinner’s name is out there, I think, because, unlike some of his teammates, he does not have no-trade protection. His cap hit is $5.725M. He’s 23, one year removed from a 33-goal season. Health is a concern, but he has played 190 of Carolina’s past 212 games. You can see why other teams would query. Former GM Jim Rutherford did explore the market on Skinner at least once.
That is not necessarily a good reason to trade someone....simply because they do not have a "no-trade" clause and exactly why I mentioned in the previous Eric Staal discussions that in my opinion, the captain should not get another "no-trade" option in his contract extension, if indeed there is one. It certainly limits what a GM can do.
16. Another Hurricane rumour is the club would consider packaging Alexander Semin with the fifth overall pick to get his contract off the books. History suggests that is very unlikely. Last year, Calgary said it would acquire Cam Ward as long as the seventh selection was included with it. GM Ron Francis declined. As much as the organization would love to move Semin, this draft pick is way too important to give away in a salary dump. It’s got to be a significant, legit hockey trade if at all.
Friedman recognizes that this pick is too important to the future simply to be used as leverage to get out of another bad contract. Will the organization realize it as well? If for some reason they did feel the need to sacrifice the future by trading this pick in order to dump Semin, (and save money), instead of buying out the bad contract, then quite frankly they deserve to go another six years without playoff revenue.
Whether or not Francis was really considering that similar option last year with the seventh pick and Cam Ward, we don't know, but he didn't do it and hopefully will make the same decision again.
While the GM refused to give away the seventh overall pick last year it's no secret that he was actively shopping the tender, so much so that he told Ward that he was no longer in the team's future plans. Ward confirmed this news himself at training camp last fall.
What happened? We can only assume that any prospective deal fell through and no other deal could be made.
One could also assume that the long time Carolina netminder would be on the market again this summer, but not so fast! According to Chip Alexander's most recent article in Sunday's News and Observer, Francis is trying to re-sign the goalie.
Francis said this past week he hopes to re-sign both team captain Eric Staal and goalie Cam Ward to multiyear extensions. He also noted both have no-trade clauses in their contracts.
If this is indeed true, this is a head-scratcher to me.
They told Ward that he was not in the team's plans going forward just about 12 months ago. They actively have been trying to get his bloated contract off the books, (this season he will earn $6.8 million). They are finally down to the last year of his contract, but now they are trying to extend him even longer?
It is true that Ward had a rebound season last year. He was healthy all season and improved his save percentage from .898 in 2013-14 to his career average percentage of .910 last season.
But did he do well enough to earn an extension, even before they see what he can do in his final contract year?
Ward is not getting any younger, (age 31) and he has been worked hard throughout much of his career, some might say "over-worked", which may have led to some of his injuries in more recent seasons. Are his injuries behind him and is he worth taking a risk with a contract extension?
This subject should lead to an interesting discussion. What do you think the Hurricanes should do?