Update: The Hurricanes announced another move Wednesday afternoon, trading center Clark Bishop to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Maxime Lajoie.
Lajoie has played 62 career NHL games for the Senators, with seven career goals and 15 career points. Bishop, a 2014 fifth round pick for Carolina, played 25 games at the NHL level over the past two seasons with one goal and four points.
Lajoie adds to a packed organizational depth chart on defense, though could be a replacement for Gustav Forsling, claimed on waivers by the Florida Panthers over the weekend. He’s likely either a candidate for the taxi squad or AHL Chicago’s blue line.
The Swedish netminder signed a one-year, $700,000 contract with the Oilers in October after the Hurricanes opted to not re-sign him following his one year stint with the organization, where he appeared in three games for Carolina and 27 games with Charlotte.
Forsberg was originally acquired by the Hurricanes alongside Gustav Forsling in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks for Aleksi Saarela and Calvin de Haan.
Alongside of this announcement, was the news that goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was placed on waivers.
The most important thing to take away from this news is that it does not mean that the Canes are giving up on Nedeljkovic for Forsberg.
What is happening is that Carolina is currently trying to go through some cap gymnastics and Forsberg adds some familiar security.
For starters, let’s get this out of the way. A new rule for the 2021 season states that all teams will be required to carry three goaltenders at all times. The Canes already had their traditional two locked in with Petr Mrazek and James Reimer and that wasn’t going to change heading into training camp.
Another thing to note is that since Nedeljkovic is on a one-way contract this year, he is not waiver exempt anymore and to be on the taxi squad, he must pass through waivers.
The next point is that the Canes are already pushed close to the salary cap. Due to Nedeljkovic’s contract being below the salary cap hit burying threshold ($1.075M), the Hurricanes could reassign him to the taxi squad to have his entire salary not count against Carolina’s cap giving them some added relief.
The reality is that the Hurricanes would love to save cap space for the season, meaning that a third goaltender was going to need to pass through waivers to be on the taxi squad.
Is it a risk? Yes, of course. Nedeljkovic is the Canes’ most progressed goaltending prospect, and he has a lot of accolades from his time in the AHL — a Calder Cup and the 2018-19 Goaltender of the Year to name a few.
Will he be claimed? More than likely, but if he is, the team that claims him would have to keep him on their NHL roster, because if that team wanted to put him on their taxi squad, he would have to pass through waivers again, where Carolina could submit a claim to get him back.
Acquiring Forsberg gives the Hurricanes added security with someone they are already familiar with in the case that Nedeljkovic is claimed, because again, per NHL rules, the team has to carry three goaltenders at all times.