“Our Sources Tell Us” is an occasional series wherein we look at possible trade targets for the Carolina Hurricanes
Every May players from various NHL teams suddenly become teammates in the colors of their country at the IIHF World Championships. This year, seven Carolina Hurricanes players were named to tournament rosters, including four named to Team Sweden. Victor Rask and Elias Lindholm, half of the Canes’ Swedish contingent, comprise two-thirds of the top Swedish line.
That line, Rask centering Lindholm and Gabriel Landeskog, has been one of the tournament’s best, combining for five goals in Sweden’s three games, including the opening goal of the tournament. Rask leads Sweden with four points, and Landeskog and Lindholm (Sweden’s leading goal-scorer) have three apiece, tied with three other players for second place.
The two Hurricanes are playing lights-out with the addition of a highly skilled winger on their line; a winger that, coincidentally, has been mentioned as a trade possibility from a Colorado Avalanche team going nowhere. Is their chemistry something that could - or should - be targeted in a trade to acquire Landeskog?
With the Avs losing the draft lottery in memorable fashion, the asking price on their captain will only increase. After moving down three spots, the Avalanche are not going to be able to pick a player that is 100% NHL ready, meaning they are further behind on their rebuild than they originally planned.
To make up for this the Avs will need to get more in return in any and all of their trades. During the season it was reported that the Avs were looking for a first-round pick, a young NHL player, and a top prospect, under the assumption that they’d be able to pick a ready-made player. Now that the Avs won’t get that player in the draft, any trade likely requires additional picks or an additional prospect.
For the Canes, this would likely be a 2017 first round pick, Noah Hanifin, Jake Bean, and a 2017 second round pick (which the Canes have three of), plus possibly a late round 2017 or 2018 pick.
Given that the price on Landeskog has increased since the draft lottery, any other deal would likely require two roster players, perhaps Brett Pesce and someone like Teuvo Teravainen. That cost would be way too much for Ron Francis to pay. Any deal for Landeskog probably starts with Hanifin, and it’s totally understandable that Francis would balk at that cost.
Now that the Canes have their goalie, they need to upgrade scoring, and Landeskog would go a long way to increase scoring. Francis has been on the record saying he wants to turn his batch of picks in the first three rounds into NHL players this draft and already has done so by picking up Scott Darling. However, the player cost of a potential Landeskog trade is significant.
On top of this, the Canes are pretty well set up on the wing with Lindholm, Teravainen, Jeff Skinner and Sebastian Aho making up the top four wingers, at least in the short term. A play for Landeskog might be a longer-term view, as Bill Peters has already said that he sees Aho’s future at center, and Lindholm could move back there someday as well. If that comes to pass, the Canes will need a winger, but that’s down the road and not now.
Where the Canes need to look right now is acquiring a top-two center. Imagine the line combinations with another center and Victor Rask moving to the third line. Even without Landeskog, the Canes would be much more balanced in that scenario.
From a salary perspective, Landeskog has four years remaining on a seven-year, $39 million contract at a $5.5 million cap hit. It’s not an outlandish salary for a top-six winger, but it would put him on a level with Skinner and Jordan Staal. Given that the Canes would be absorbing the bulk of the salary in any trade, it may be too much to stomach if it isn’t the perfect fit.
Landeskog is also a player with an edge, serving two suspensions in the 2015-16 season for questionable hits and just yesterday delivered a blindside hit to Blackhawks prospect Nick Schmaltz:
If Francis is ready to make a blockbuster, he should do it to acquire an elite center and not an additional winger. The Canes have some great prospects and a log jam of young talented defensemen that, if used correctly, could set up the Canes without selling off the future completely.
So maybe it doesn’t make sense for the Canes to make a blockbuster deal for Landeskog right now, but we can still have fun watching Sweden’s top line and wondering what that would look like in red and white instead of blue and yellow.
You make the call: should the Canes pursue a trade for Gabriel Landeskog?
Should the Canes trade for Gabriel Landeskog?
This poll is closed
Yes, he would be a good fit
Yes, for another reason (comment below)
No, the Canes need a center more than a wing
No, for another reason (comment below)