The Carolina Hurricanes were sellers at the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline after a string of poor play in late January and February. The poor play forced general manager Ron Francis’ hand after a brief period where it seemed the Canes might have been able to load up for a playoff run.
In the time-honored tradition of blogs everywhere, it’s time to pass out some grades for the deadline. Here’s how we think the Canes did. We want to hear your grades too, either on these points or any others you'd like to contribute, in the comments.
Ron Hainsey trade:
To Pittsburgh: Ron Hainsey
To Carolina: Danny Kristo, second round pick in 2017
This was Francis’ best trade at the deadline. To get a second round pick and a prospect for Hainsey is pretty impressive. Kristo will most likely be a career AHLer but can help out the Charlotte Checkers. Now don’t get me wrong, Hainsey was a class-act and a great veteran leader on the team but both parties benefit from this trade. The Hurricanes add to their plethora of picks and now have 11 picks in the 2017 NHL Draft, seven of those in the first three rounds. Hainsey has not played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in his entire career, the all-time NHL record holder in games played without a playoff appearance. Barring a series of unfortunate events, it’s all but certain that the Penguins will be back in the playoffs.
Viktor Stalberg trade:
To Ottawa: Viktor Stalberg
To Carolina: Third round pick in 2017
This deal was questionable. While Stalberg is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, he was a valuable bottom-six forward for the Hurricanes. At a reasonable $1.5 million dollar cap hit, Stalberg brought a lot to the table for a small price. It’s understandable that Francis had to execute the trade but re-signing Stalberg would have been more valuable to the team moving forward.
Ron Francis grade: C
This was a quiet trade deadline for Francis when more moves could have been made. Lee Stempniak or Jay McClement could have been on their way out but they remained on the roster. With all the speculation surrounding Matt Duchene and the Hurricanes, this trade deadline was disappointing from a fan’s perspective. The Hainsey and Stalberg deals do not make the Hurricanes better.
The team still needs to address many areas of concern heading into the 2017-18 season. The Hurricanes do not have a legitimate first line center (yet) and still need another top-4 defenseman.
It’s time for the Hurricanes to make a gutsy trade. Think a Seth Jones-Ryan Johansen type of trade. With 11 picks heading into the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, it would be ideal if management used some of the picks to bring in skilled, veteran talent to surround the young core and give the Hurricanes the edge they need to make the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Positioning for the Future: B
All those draft picks really do look nice, and they will likely allow the Hurricanes, at a bare minimum, to move up and take a player they want. Keeping Ryan Murphy prevents an expansion draft headache, and the Canes are well positioned to expose either Stempniak or Joakim Nordstrom with minimal concerns. While they didn't unload all of their pending free agents, they don't have any major decisions to make this offseason. That paired with oodles of cap space means they should have the green light to pursue some bigger-ticket free agents.
What are your thoughts on how the Canes did at the deadline? Let us know below.