Hey, you. Yes, you reading this. By the time you read this article, it may be redundant. Welcome to NHL draft season, where trades happen by the hour and players move before the start of free agency on July 1st. Teams are looking to shape their roster and figure out their salary cap situation before heading into free agency, allowing them to figure out financially how much they will be able to spend on available players.
The 2018 NHL Draft could hold more substantial movement than any draft this decade. The 6th overall and 10th overall picks, held by the Detroit Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers respectively, could possibly be on the move. At this current point, the second overall pick doesn’t look to be moving out of the Carolina Hurricanes’ possession and all signs point to Andrei Svechnikov donning a red jersey on Friday.
However, there are other possible moves that the Hurricanes can make that could benefit the term both in the short-term and long-term. The team is desperately in need of a playoff berth for the first time in nine seasons, and it may be in the best interest of new general manager Don Waddell to be aggressive on the draft floor. Coming out of the draft without an improvement in net or a top-6 forward should be considered a failure for the Hurricanes.
While none of these exact deals have necessarily been rumored, here are some possible draft trade scenarios that make sense to me (and perhaps no one else). Keep in mind that these are simply possibilities and we are not necessarily advocating trading these players. That’s a different conversation for a different day.
It seems all but inevitable the smiley winger will be traded this off-season. Skinner is heading into the final season of a reasonable cap hit of $5.725 million and will likely receive a pay raise in free agency. Bob McKenzie of TSN reported Skinner’s days are “numbered.” Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reports that the asking price for Skinner is “a first round pick and a prospect.” While that may seem low for a player who scored 37 goals a season ago, the market may be rough with teams figuring out their cap situation for next season.
With Skinner easily on the move, here’s a possible scenario:
- To Carolina: 7th overall selection in 2018, Nikolay Goldobin
- To Vancouver: Jeff Skinner, 42nd overall selection in 2018
This scenario fits LeBrun’s speculation and satisfies needs for both teams. Vancouver ranked 26th in the league in goals for and had no 30-goal scorers. Skinner would be a great piece for the Canucks, possibly slotted in on a line with Bo Horvat (a fellow #53) and Brock Boeser, who burst on to the scene last season, potting 55 points. Losing both Sedins will significantly hurt the Canucks and a goal-starved team will suffer even more unless they make adjustments.
While it may be feasible for the Canucks to go into a full-fledged rebuild in the post-Sedin era, Canadian markets are likely to try to stay competitive and Vancouver is no exception. Acquiring Skinner satisfies the need for Canadian teams to “make a splash” in the off-season. The 42nd overall would give the Canucks an additional pick inside of the top-50 and would still allow them to grab a young player to help them build up their prospect pool.
Now, for the Hurricanes’ end of the deal: Carolina would be able to fulfill their asking price and add an additional top-10 selection to go along with their 2nd overall pick. Goldobin is not a pushover of a prospect, either. Previously selected 27th overall by the San Jose Sharks, the speedy winger scored 14 points in 38 games at the NHL level and registered 30 points in 31 games. He would be a great addition to the roster in a third-line role.
Moving Faulk is a precarious situation but remains a possibility. Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Chicago Blackhawks have kicked the tires on the right-handed defenseman in an effort to bolster their aging defense corps. The reported asking price is center Brandon Saad. Is this enough in a one for one deal?
Faulk is a very unique case. Last season was dismal in terms of production and of course, the bad highlights:
Rick Nash gets his first goal as a Bruin pic.twitter.com/oKYZJn7aLB— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 28, 2018
stellar defense from faulk pic.twitter.com/LKn52irZgt— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) November 8, 2017
However, Faulk is three-time All-Star and an Olympian as well as a right-handed shot which is highly coveted among teams. The offensive-minded blueliner had 37 points a season ago and has reached 49 points in a season. The price should be sky-high but it will not.
Selling low on Faulk is a risk but it may be what the Hurricanes need in order to “shake up” the culture in the room. Here are two possible scenarios involving Faulk:
- To Chicago: Justin Faulk, Lucas Wallmark
- To Carolina: Brandon Saad, Ian Mitchell
Chicago would receive the defenseman they coveted but would add a depth forward in Wallmark in order to fill a need in Rockford. Frankly, Wallmark will be the odd man out in Charlotte with prospects like Martin Necas, Nicolas Roy, Warren Foegele and Julien Gauthier soon to be ahead of him on the depth chart. It’s time for a change of scenery for the forward.
Saad would easily be thrust into Carolina’s top-six and would be relied on to produce around 50 points, a feat he has accomplished multiple times in the past. Turning 26 in August, Saad will be heading into his prime and could look impressive on a line with former teammate Teuvo Teravainen. Mitchell is a depth defenseman that could join the ranks in Charlotte.
- To Chicago: Justin Faulk, Scott Darling
- To Carolina: Brandon Saad, Marian Hossa contract, 2019 fourth round pick (Boston)
Now, this one is wild, but hear me out. Both teams are in a pickle here. Marian Hossa will never play another game in the NHL but his contract isn’t going anywhere. He’s due $5.275 million through the 2020-21 season. Chicago is reportedly interested in bringing Darling back into the fold. While it seems redundant to pay for Hossa’s contract, it would free up the goaltender position so that the Canes could go out and truly fix their woes. Philipp Grubauer, perhaps?
One more, just for argument’s sake:
- To Chicago: Scott Darling
- To Carolina: Scott Foster (accountant/emergency goalie)
Have a trade proposal that makes sense to you? Leave it in the comment section below.