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Who and what the Hurricanes could look to move at the trade deadline

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The NHL’s trade deadline is less than two weeks away and for the third straight year, the Canes are in the buyer’s market. But going after players isn’t free, so today we take a look at what Carolina may have to pay to upgrade its lineup.

Carolina Hurricanes v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

Sound the alarm because the 2021 NHL trade deadline is less than two weeks away.

While usually the deadline is a crazy time with trades happening all over the place, the fear this year is that it may be a less active time than usual.

The combination of needed quarantine time and the continued flat cap are reportedly making many teams overly cautious about swinging deals.

The biggest hurdle out of all though is the financials. Most teams just aren’t willing to bring in money right now, especially as playoff revenue won’t be as impactful with only partial attendance allowed throughout all the league’s venues.

But if deals do get made, here’s who or what could be heading out of Carolina:

Roster Players

In my opinion, the Canes really shouldn’t be looking to move any players off the active roster because of #depth.

The team is doing well and has called upon its depth all season, and you really don’t want to be ridding yourself of that if you can avoid it.

The playoffs are the most physically demanding time of the season and when injuries most often occur. You need to maintain that depth for that very reason.

But if the right moves are there to upgrade your team overall, the cost may be warranted.

James Reimer

In a conversation with Sara Civian of the Athletic, Don Waddell stated that the team could be interested in moving a goalie. Currently, the team has three goaltenders on roster with James Reimer, Alex Nedlejkovic and Petr Mrazek now returned from injury.

If a move is to be made (though I don’t feel it’s necessary) then really the only goalie I’d even consider moving would be Reimer.

Reimer is a weird case. Huge saves but soft goals. Overall, I think he is a really good backup goaltender, but he just can’t be the guy to carry the load. In terms of what the Hurricanes have though, he is definitely the third option.

Mrazek is your number one netminder. That hasn’t changed just because he was injured and the fact that he posted another shutout in his return to the lineup just helps seal the deal for him.

Nedeljkovic has proven that he can play in the league and could be the Hurricanes’ future. You don’t just move that out for complimentary pieces.

And that very same thing can be said for Reimer. The only teams that would be in on an upcoming UFA goaltender wouldn’t be looking to move roster pieces, and why move him out for a lower-tier prospect or second or third round pick when he provides great depth for the Hurricanes?

He has fairly good trade value as he has a strong record and his actual salary for this season is only $850,000 makes him a cheap option teams would be willing to absorb.

But unless there’s a deal where the team has to shed his cap hit, I don’t see a good reason to move him. However, if the team does look to move a goalie, Reimer makes the most sense.

Haydn Fleury

In that same conversation with the Athletic, Waddell also mentioned how the team was shopping for a right-handed defenseman.

With the Canes’ top four defense pretty secure in their placing, that leaves the bottom pair of Fleury and Jake Bean as the only questionable duo.

And Bean isn’t going to be the one going anywhere.

After taking a big step forward last season when Pesce and Hamilton were injured and especially later on in the playoffs, it’s concerning to see Fleury play a step down from that in this season.

He’s had moments here and there of consistent play and accountability, especially on the penalty kill, but it just hasn’t been there enough to be relied on.

His ice time has trended down steadily and I just don’t see him as being a guy that the coaching staff is really comfortable in keeping out there if they can avoid it.

Again, Fleury should probably stay around as a depth piece and to see if he can bring that playoff grit he had last season (also the potential to be exposed to Seattle in the expansion draft), but if a team is looking to fill in a defensive void left by trading out a defenseman, Fleury still being a cheap option for another year and an RFA on top of it would potentially entice some teams.

Bottom-Six Forward

Whether a part of a deal sweetener or a space opener, the Carolina Hurricanes currently have at least one too many depth role players on roster.

With the emergence of Steven Lorentz as a really good 4C option, it’s kind of forced a few guys into line promotions that aren’t really benefiting the team a whole lot.

These guys have been able to keep the roster bolstered while the Canes deal with injury issues, but ideally the team should be looking to have actual top-six level players fill in those holes.

As such, if the team is needing to include a body to go the other way for roster reasons or whatever may sweeten the pot, it might not be the worst loss to lose one of these depth pieces.

Again, trading out roster players that are providing you great depth at the moment isn’t the best way to go about the deadline in my opinion, and these pieces should only be moved if the player you are getting back obviously will improve the team.

Prospects

Now we get to the more moveable pieces and, honestly, take your pick.

Anyone except for Seth Jarvis I can see being moved for the right price. The Hurricanes are in a position to win now and there’s no telling what next year could bring, so if the right deal is there, you make it every time.

Other teams are going to be asking for a fair return for any player and prospects are pieces that should be moved if that player you obtain can push your team over the edge to win it all.

The Canes have a lot of good prospects, so moving them for a middle-six winger or bottom-pairing defenseman wouldn’t be a waste, but if Carolina is looking to make a hockey deal for a top-end player, the higher=rated prospects will have to be a part of any trade like that.

Morgan Geekie could be a player I could see a lot of teams having some interest in. With the Canes’ current depth at center, I don’t know if he has a clear path in Carolina and the team may be willing to move him.

I could also see Ryan Suzuki being the center-piece for a hockey deal involving a top-six forward with term.

Joey Keane is another name that I could imagine teams asking for from the Hurricanes and with the team’s depth at that position, it could be a feasible deal.

Other potential trade candidates I could see are Jack Drury, Dominik Bokk, David Cotton and Jesper Sellgren.

It’s not to say that the Hurricanes should trade any of these players or empty the farm, but if they are looking to improve now, it’s going to cost them their good, young players of the future. Plain and simple.

Picks

The real truth about draft picks is that they are in a sense a form of currency. The more you have, the more willing you are to spend, while the less you have, the less you want to ship them out.

How general managers weigh them is another exercise entirely, but the fact is that they can really sweeten the pot for many deals.

The Hurricanes have had a plethora of picks the last three years and currently hold eight for this coming draft. So with the prospect pipeline pretty stocked, the Canes can afford to spend a good bit of their picks if they’re looking to pick up some good complimentary pieces.

Add in the fact that this year’s draft has been heavily impacted by the pandemic with many junior leagues’ seasons having been either delayed or canceled and scouts not being able to freely travel and it all looks like the potential for a hot mess.

This may drive the overall value of draft picks down, but there will still be teams in need of restocking their pipelines and the Canes are fully capable of helping those teams out.