When the clock struck 3:00 pm EST, Micheal Ferland was still a Hurricane, as were Justin Faulk, Brett Pesce, Dougie Hamilton, Trevor van Riemsdyk and literally everyone else not named Cliff Pu, who was dealt to the Florida Panthers earlier in the day.
When the Canes start their post-trade deadline schedule with a home game against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, they will do so with the roster that has put an NHL-best 18-6-1 record dating back to December 31 still fully intact. It will be up to this group to break a nine-year playoff drought.
Carolina identified Ferland as an “own rental” of sorts. Sitting in a playoff spot, the Canes opted to keep him as opposed to moving him out and trying to find a different player to fill his role. On the blue line, Don Waddell and co.’s fleecing of the Minnesota Wild for Nino Niederreiter really eliminated any desperation involved in moving a top-four defenseman for a top-six forward mid-season.
“We believe in this team, and that’s why we stuck with them,” general manager Don Waddell said at his trade deadline press conference on Monday. He added that they were in on multiple conversations throughout the day, but nothing made sense.
“We had lots of conversations up to the deadline,” Waddell said about trade talks surrounding Ferland. “We said, to everyone involved, that Micheal (Ferland) is a very important part of our hockey club. He’s done a good job for us. We all know he’s unrestricted at the end of the year, but if we were going to trade Micheal, we were going to have to go out and replace that player. With the rental players that were out there, we didn’t see that kind of player. We know this player (Ferland), so we told teams all along that, if there was a deal that we couldn’t say no to, we would talk and look at it, but at the end of the day there was nothing that made sense for us to trade Micheal Ferland.”
Between the end of the season and July 1, the Canes will have ample time and opportunity to negotiate with Ferland’s representation about a contract extension. Waddell confirmed that the team does not plan on negotiating with any of their pending free agents before the end of the season, trying to eliminate any distractions that would come with those talks during the stretch run.
Waddell did tease that the Canes put forth an offer, consisting of draft picks, for a player with term on his deal, but nothing came to fruition.
Outside of the trade deadline talk, Waddell did provide an update on goalie Scott Darling, who took a leave of absence from the Charlotte Checkers for “personal reasons” on February 10, saying “I believe Scott will rejoin the team in the very near future.” With regards to rookie Martin Necas, he didn’t slam the door on the idea of the Czech center coming back to the Hurricanes at some point, but he certainly didn’t assure that he would. In this case, there are off-ice implications. A lengthy recall of any kind would result in Necas having to be protected at the Seattle expansion draft a couple of years down the road.
So, there you have it. February 25 was another very quiet day for the Hurricanes, but for the first time in a long time, that’s totally fine. Sitting in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff standings, they control their own destiny from here on out.
The Canes like this group, and there’s very little reason not to.