An occasional series wherein we look at possible trade targets for the Carolina Hurricanes
With the first half of the season in the books, the standings are starting to solidify, teams know their strengths and weaknesses, and they know what they need to be successful. Because of this, teams are starting to shop players around and the rumor mill is starting to heat up. The Canes currently sit just a single point out of the playoffs and have a decision to make on whether or not they want to make a run for the playoffs.
There have been a lot of talk about the Canes possibly targeting Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog recently, but there are other options available as well. In this edition of Our Sources Tell Us, we’ll look at what the Canes have to offer other teams before looking at some players who have been mentioned in the rumor mill lately and whether they would be a fit with the Canes.
The Canes have two main areas of need this season a backup goaltender and scoring in the form of a top six forward. GM Ron Francis has done a great job of amassing a plethora of defensive prospects and draft picks that he can use to acquire what the team needs.
Most of the league is looking to acquire a young defenseman and the Canes have them in many forms. Currently, the Canes have Justin Faulk, Brett Pesce, Jaccob Slavin, and Noah Hanifin who are 24 years old or younger with NHL experience. On top of this, the Canes have Jake Bean, Roland McKeown, and Haydn Fleury in the system that they can use to deal as well.
In addition to the defensemen in the organization, the Canes have five picks in the first three rounds of this year’s draft due to previous trades. This draft is notably weaker than the previous two, so dealing picks won't be as big of a loss this season. With the organization stocked with good talent, the Canes can afford to let a pick or two go.
The Canes can make a big splash using a single piece or a combination to get what they want. The biggest decision for Francis is to determine where the team is in the rebuild and to stick with his plan.
With Eddie Lack battling back from a concussion, Ward has had to start 20 games in a row. The Canes need a capable goaltender to be able to give Ward a break for a night on a back to back. There are a couple of options for backup goaltender; however, some are pricier than others.
The New York Islanders are desperate to get rid of Jaroslav Halak. Halak was recently sent down to the AHL after clearing waivers. A big reason why is due to his $3.5 million cap hit. Unfortunately for the Isles, they are still on the hook for almost the entire cap hit. The Isles will most likely have to retain some of the salary and/or unload him for cheap.
The Canes have the cap room to easily make the deal and could use goaltending help. Sending a fourth round pick should be enough to get the goaltender with around $1.5 million retained.
With the Jets calling up Ondrej Pavelec today, Michael Hutchinson is the odd man out in Winnipeg. Hutchinson has been struggling this season and only has a .894 Sv% but could fill in for Ward if need be. The issue with him is that he is not a huge upgrade over Lack, but he is three years younger.
Hutchinson has a cap hit of only $1.1 mil and could be a cost-effective solution if Lack suffers any more setbacks. Much like Halak Hutchinson's price shouldn’t be high a mid round pick should do the trick.
With the emergence or Petr Mrazek last season and Jared Coreau this season, Jimmy Howard has fallen to the third position on the depth chart. Recently Howard has not been playing due to an MCL sprain, but before getting injured about a month ago Howard was performing well. However, he is more expensive and older than both Mrazek and Coreau.
The main reason that the Red Wings want to trade Howard is due to his $5.3 million cap hit through 2019. Howard has a career .917 Sv% and a 2.43 GAA over his 11-season career. Howard does have a modified no-trade clause and will be one of the priciest goaltenders on the market. The Canes may not want to be on the hook for more than $5 million a season. His cap hit could end up reducing his cost depending on what other moves they want to make. Howard would cost the Hurricanes a prospect and a 2017 mid-round pick.
Other goaltenders that are on the market are Ben Bishop and Marc-Andre Fleury due to the expansion draft rules. The Canes aren’t in the market for a big dollar starting goaltender so it’s not expected that they will be making a huge splash in the goaltender market.
Top Six Forward
The Canes have been trying to acquire a forward all season, but so far have gone the waiver route taking waivers on Martin Frk and Ty Rattie. Though Frk didn’t work out, the Canes are still hoping Rattie can work. The Canes aren’t in the market for a rent-a-star and are not looking for a deep cup run. Rather, they need a forward that will be with the team in the long run.
The Coyotes have been shopping around 29-year-old center Martin Hanzal. Hanzal is on the last year of a five-year, $3.1 million per year deal. Due to the Coyotes being second to last in the league, Hanzal has become one of the hottest names in the trade market. As a center, he is one of the most versatile forwards available, but he has had a down year and only has 15 points in 36 games played. However, he does have high potential and is just a year removed from a 40-point season.
The downside with Hanzal is that he is on the last year of a deal and will hit free agency next year. On top of this, he also has a modified no-trade clause so it will be difficult to get him to waive it for Carolina. Since he is prized in the rent-a-player market this year he may cost too much for the Canes. A trade for Hanzal would cost the Canes a 2017 second round pick and a prospect the caliber of Nicolas Roy or Roland McKeown. I don’t see the Canes buying this much into a temporary player.
Perreault is a guy who can be brought into immediately add scoring depth. It’s what he's done everywhere he has been. Perreault has recorded over 40 points every season for the last three seasons. This year he has had a little bit of a down year and has only 13 points. Right now he appears to be the odd man out for the expansion draft and could be lost regardless of the Jets’ willingness to keep him.
Perreault is currently in the final year of a three-year, $9 million deal. He provides the scoring that the Canes would need to propel them into the playoffs in a cost effective manner. The major risk of trading for him is that he is only a temporary player, and he is unlikely to re-sign with the Canes after the deal. This deal would likely cost the Canes one of their 2017 second rounders, plus a 2018 late round pick.
James Van Riemsdyk
JVR and the Maple Leafs are in a very interesting spot right now. The Leafs are in the middle of a lengthy rebuild, but also find themselves in a playoff position in the Atlantic Division. JVR is in the second to last year of his six-year deal and carries a $4.5 mil per year hit. This is the first season that he has a modified no-trade clause which is a list of 10 teams that he cannot be traded to. The Leafs are looking to trade JVR for more prospects and pieces that will help them with their rebuild.
He is a skilled winger that can add scoring and be a top line winger for the Canes. Last season he only played 40 games but had 29 points. In his previous two seasons, he recorded over 50 points. He could come into the Canes this season and could add over 10 goals, and turn out a 20 goal plus season next year. With one year left on his deal, he would provide more long-term value to the Canes and could be worth it for Francis. A trade of this caliber would cost the Canes a defensive prospect, either Haydn Fleury or Jake Bean, a 2017 second round pick and a 2017 sixth round pick.
As we approach the trade deadline it's likely that the asking price for many players will come down. The Canes have experienced this first hand when Eric Staal ended up getting dealt for second round picks instead of a first round pick. The smartest deal for the Canes would actually be a blockbuster deal, that would involve trading more significant pieces on the blue line to acquire a long term top six forward for the team.