The Carolina Hurricanes needed a center. The Vegas Golden Knights needed to shed salary. Both teams got what they wanted in a trade Wednesday night, as the Canes acquired Erik Haula from the Golden Knights in exchange for Nicolas Roy and a conditional fifth-round draft pick in 2021.
The Knights were in a cap crunch, bumping up against the 10% offseason increase in the salary cap after signing William Karlsson to a new contract earlier this week, and needed to cut nearly $8 million in cap hit to be compliant by the start of the season. Moving Haula, who has one year remaining at a cap hit of $2.75 million and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, helps in that regard.
An original Golden Knight who was selected from the Minnesota Wild in the expansion draft, Haula has tallied 73 goals and 151 points in 357 career games over six seasons. He played just 15 games last season, missing nearly the entire season after a hit from now-teammate (at least for the time being) Patrick Marleau sent him awkwardly into the boards and seriously injured his right knee. Haula underwent a rare surgery to repair his knee, and spent time in a wheelchair before needing physical therapy to essentially learn how to walk again.
It was widely known that the Hurricanes needed to upgrade at center, especially with Greg McKegg likely to depart in free agency. To do so, ironically, it cost them a center who helped the Charlotte Checkers win the Calder Cup three weeks ago. Roy was initially thought to be a candidate to fill the fourth line center spot, but that was likely to be his ceiling on a team with Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal and arguably Lucas Wallmark entrenched ahead of him.
The release from the team is below.
CANES ACQUIRE ERIK HAULA FROM VEGAS
Roy and a conditional fifth-round pick traded to Golden Knights
Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has acquired forward Erik Haula from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for forward Nicolas Roy and a conditional fifth-round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft.
“Erik is a skilled, experienced player who has been productive at even strength and on special teams,” said Waddell. “We expect him to be healthy and ready to go for training camp.”
Haula, 28, registered seven points (2g, 5a) in 15 games with Vegas in 2018-19 before suffering a season-ending injury on Nov. 6 at Toronto. The 6’0”, 193-pound forward was selected by the Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft from the Wild. Haula posted career highs in goals (29), assists (26), points (55) and power-play goals (12) during the 2017-18 season. During the Golden Knights’ run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2018, Haula tallied nine points (3g, 6a) in 20 games.
The Pori, Finland, native has recorded 151 points (73g, 78a) in 357 career regular season NHL games with Minnesota and Vegas. Haula has also earned 22 points (9g, 13a) in 44 career Stanley Cup Playoff games. He was teammates with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen while playing for Finland at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, and he also has represented his home country at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship and won silver at the 2014 IIHF World Championship. Haula was drafted by the Wild in the seventh round, 182nd overall, of the 2009 NHL Draft.
Roy, 22, registered 74 points (28g, 46a) in 141 career AHL games with Charlotte and played seven career NHL games with the Hurricanes.