Ron Francis has done a spectacular job of making sure pieces fit where they are supposed to with the Carolina Hurricanes. The defense is the current and future strong point for the club, so it might make sense for Francis to continue to add some offensive weapons.
Carolina doesn’t have an open wallet to shop for players, but spending wisely has resulted in key contributions from Teuvo Teravainen, Lee Stempniak and Viktor Stalberg.
Meanwhile, Eddie Lack and Ryan Murphy are the two most likely pieces of the Hurricanes roster to be on the active trade block. Rumor has it Murphy is being shopped around pretty heavily.
Although the Hurricanes have a dangerous goal scorer in Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask is on his way to becoming an elite center and playmaker, the Hurricanes need to add a player who has more experience and can help take a load off of the young guys.
The Dallas Stars, despite injuries, have allowed 72 goals, the second highest total in the NHL this season. Unlike the Hurricanes, the Stars’ strength is up front, but they need help in their young defensive corps.
Francis has been eager to throw teams like the Chicago Blackhawks a lifeline to ease a salary cap crunch, and pick up other players in the process. The Stars are quickly approaching that territory. Captain Jamie Benn, described by the Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika as the best draft pick in Stars franchise history—even above franchise legend Mike Modano—signed an eight year, $76 million extension in the offseason. Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza are each signed through 2019 at a combined cap hit of north of $13 million. They’re paying more than $10 million a year for replacement-level goaltending.
Which brings us to veteran center Patrick Sharp.
At 34, he can still turn and burn and snipe. He secured 55 points (20 goals, 35 assists) in 76 games and notched 6 points in 13 playoff games last season.
While Sharp might run a bit hot and cold, he contributes consistently from season to season. His veteran presence helps shepherd younger players into the right position and may be exactly what this young Hurricanes team needs in order to be consistent game to game. He has an effective two way game and his pedigree could help improve the team’s mental toughness.
Right now with the Stars, Sharp comes with a $5.9 million cap hit and as he continues to age, his value will decrease. Despite being one point out of a wild-card playoff spot, a minus-15 goal differential isn’t the position the Stars were hoping to be in for a chance at the playoffs, and at his age and cap hit Sharp is a luxury the Stars may not be able to afford in a playoff push. Sharp does have a no-movement clause, which would need to be waived to leave the Stars.
Murphy would be add a young offensive defenseman that certainly fits the Stars’ system. He may never become a permanent NHL fixture, but teams are almost always willing to give first-round picks another chance, and a change of scenery could benefit him.
Lack’s performance in his time with the Hurricanes so far leaves people scratching their heads as to why he was extended two years without seeing him play in the regular season. Lack has never really had much of an opportunity to get a rhythm going, but his poor performance in his opportunities is a result of that. The goalie system would work much better for Lack in Dallas as both goalies get a lot of playing time if they were to part with Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi.
Sharp could bring everything the Hurricanes want: a player towards the end of his career, a three-time Stanley Cup Champion who can still play at a high level, and the ability to form instant chemistry with almost anyone. (Also, hair to rival Justin Faulk’s.)
At this point in his career, Sharp could very well be interested in helping the Canes get over the hump and into the postseason. As a player who was there for all 3 Stanley Cups in Chicago, Sharp would fit in immediately both on and off the ice. Despite the amount of leadership Faulk, Staal and Skinner bring to the locker room, track record matters.