It’s that time of year again, and the trade deadline is fast approaching. On (or before) February 26th, the Canes will have to make a decision about that will affect the future and possibly culture of the franchise.
With a new owner at the helm, results are expected sooner than later, and with a bevy of trade-able assets a solid return could be expected. The Hurricanes are currently on pace for a season total of 87 points which, if they do manage to qualify for the playoffs, would be tied for the lowest total for a post-season team since the 2004-2005 lockout.
With that being said, it is my humble opinion that it’s time for the Canes to shake things up. You can’t make an omelet without cracking a few eggs and you don’t become a winner without making moves to improve your franchise. So with that in mind, here are three trades I believe could make the Canes better for the stretch run and the future.
Charlie Coyle and Minnesota’s 3rd round pick in 2018 (Originally owned by Vegas) for Nicolas Roy and Carolina’s 2nd round pick in 2018
This trade makes sense for both sides by fulfilling Carolina's need to add top 6 scoring now, and bulk up a Minnesota farm system that has been depleted through trades the past few years. Coyle carries a $3.2 million cap hit that runs through 2019-2020 and had a career year last year in the State of Hockey with a 18G-38A-56Pt slash-line. He brings a power forward type of play that can slide up and down that line-up but is best suited for top-6 minutes.
While he has been used primarily on the wing with the Wild, Coyle was drafted as, and has played at, center. His versatility would allow other players to slot into more appropriate roles in the line-up. Losing a solid prospect like Roy would hurt the Checkers, but it’s important for the Canes realize that the time for stockpiling assets has passed.
Max Domi for Haydn Fleury and Carolina's 4th rd pick.
Yes, I’m sure the package that gets sent out to Arizona will get side-eyes from Canes fans, but you get in return a player who doesn’t enter UFA status for another four seasons. Domi blends both skill and snarl and is most likely looking for a change of scenery. The 22 year old LW has put up 4 goals and 22 assists for 26 pts in 59 games. Those numbers may not be eye-popping, but they are more than likely a reflection of the talent level around him in the desert.
Like Coyle, Domi’s skill-set allows other players to slot down the lineup so that roles are clearer defined. Fleury is a promising prospect, but with Carolina's depth at the position, the blow-back of his loss could be minimized. With the Coyotes likely shopping Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Fleury could bolster a D-line for years to come in the desert.
Evander Kane & Buffalo's 3rd round pick in 2019 (Becomes a 2nd round pick if Kane re-signs with Carolina) for Justin Faulk, Julien Gauthier and Carolina’s 2nd round pick in 2018.
Let’s finish with the one player that everyone is talking about. Kane has 19 goals on a very bad Buffalo team, and a change of scenery is all but guaranteed. The price for Kane will be high, but players bought at the deadline are almost always overvalued.
With that being said, Kane bring a score-first mentality that can elevate players on his line to the next level. He won’t kill penalties, but that wouldn’t be what you pay him to do.
Buffalo is reportedly asking for a return of a roster player, prospect and a top pick. The Sabres need help on the blue line in the worst way possible, and Faulk could easily slide into their top pair, allowing Marco Scandella to slide down into a more suitable top-4 spot. Losing a prospect like Gauthier isn’t easy, but snipers like Kane don’t grow on trees.
The trade even works in Carolina's favor if they don’t manage to re-sign Kane. By shedding Faulk’s contract they allow themselves to pursue a high end winger for the team’s top-6.
None of these three trades are set in stone but the Hurricanes need a change. Standing pat at the deadline and waiting for prospects to accept larger roles is not the move this franchise should make. The beginning of the season had so much promise only to yield similar results. The willingness to make a splash at the deadline is exactly what the team - and the fan base - need.