The Hurricanes have searched for value deals in trade market since the front office took over in 18-19. We have tried to guys that are down on their production who we believe could boom in our system. We have exploited teams' need for cap space as well. We acquired guys like Nino for Rask, Reimer for Darling, Trocheck for 4 inconsequential pieces, Haula for Roy, Coghlan and Pacioretty for our beloved Stanley Cup champ future considerations, Kotkaniemi for a late 1st and 3rd, and got Skjei for a 1st rounder. The Skjei deal is the least value driven but a mid 20s first for a top 4 defender for 3 seasons is value.
Lets explore possible value deals:
Rasmus Ristolainen, RHD, Flyers
In my trading Pesce post, I mentioned the acquiring of Ristolainen from Philly. I know he had a very poor time in Philly in 21-22 and the two previous seasons in Buffalo as well. Risto is a new defender. He still doesnt hold value because everyone is scared of the previous 3 seasons and his offense really struggled in 22-23. His defensive metrics were really high in 22-23, he is a big defender, a smooth skater, and if playing defense more like a Hurricanes defender than ever before. His struggle this past season was taking too many penatlies and the previously mentioned offensive issues. I think both concerns will not be an issue when arriving here. We owned the puck 52% of the time with Pesce on the ice last season. The flyers owned the puck 42% of the time with Risto on the ice. Risto is a lot less likely to take penalties if we have the puck. Likely, his value is around swapping the Philly 23 3rd rounder we own with one the Rangers 3rd rounder they own. That has the potential to be seriously good value for a top 4 RHD for us for 4 seasons.
Now his contract risk is decent with 5.1 million left for 4 more years. If he returns to the previous three seasons worth of production, that is quite the upside down contract. I dont believe he would in this defense as we, basically, demand defenders to not chase hits and remain in sound position to make plays. Generally, that deal would be very good to the deals signed in FA over the next 2 years. Look at Severson's recent deal and 4 x 5.1 mil already looks really good.
Blake Coleman RW/LW, and Jakob Markstrom, G, Calgary Flames
This is a tricky one. It isnt a secret that a max exodus is coming for Calgary. Could we potentially get a great value deal by offering Calgary more cap flexibility to assume bad contracts to maximize their returns in the trades of Lindholm, Toffoli, Hanifin, etc? Markstrom is a big goalie at 6'6 who has had a great career with some pretty decent numbers. We pursued him in the 2020 FA class before Calgary was willing to go with the 6th year or term. We settled with sticking with Mrazek and Reimer for another year. Coleman is that Oomph per 60 winger that we have wanted for a while and had as 2 way game. Why is this a value deal, you may ask. If you aren't aware Markstrom had quite the terrible year, below .900 save percentage year. Im not sure most of it was Markstrom's fault. Calgary defenders lost a lot of net front battles and the rebounds Markstrom gave up, became 2nd scoring opportunities. Markstrom say a decent dip in his 5v5 and HDSV percentages this past season. Coleman on the other hand has provided decent surplus value of 600k to 1.1 million during his time in Calgary. He was signed to score goals and he has underperformed his xG total in his two seasons in Calgary? Could he see a rebound in Carolina getting to the net, scoring dirty goals, and providing that grit we need? I think so and he has strong defensive metrics too.
The contract risk for Coleman isnt that big of a deal with 4 years at 4.9 million per still left. That last season might get dicey if his body doesnt hold up. When the Bertuzzi deal is signed by someone come July 1st, a 4 x 4.9 million deal is going to seem like peanuts. Markstrom is the big risk with 3 years at 6 million per left. If he cant recover from last season that deal will become really bad. Also, goalies typically fall off at age 35. Markstrom is 33.5 now. Re-signing Freddie is the easy answer here but I have an odd feeling his agent gets word they will offer him a 3rd year at a good AAV number which should eliminate us as candidate (thankfully). I think Markstrom will do well in our system and recover to a nice 45 game starter with a .918 save percentage or higher. The trade value should be older prospects that we likely aren't giving a shot to for Markstrom with 1 million retain and Coleman.
Derek Forbort, D, Boston Bruins
If you like big body defenders who want get pushed around near the net and dont mind mixing it up after the whistle, look no further than Forbort. That is exactly who he is. 6'4, 208, averages 2 hits a game and close to a block shot a game. He was asked to take on more defensive draws than anyone last season. His O zone start percentage was in the 20s. That is wildly low. Talk about a really good 3LD partner for Chatfield though. Chatty can be a little more aggressive on offense and Forbort can handle the rest.
He wont be positively rated because he gets 0 opportunity to provide anything offensively. We dont need him for that though. He will be our mean guy on the back end who can take some PK and defensive pressure off our 2nd pair. Why he is available? Boston is in a serious cap crunch for next year.
His contract has the lowest of risk so far with a 3 million cap hit for 1 year. Virtually no risk. Honestly, he would be the exact defender I would tag to be Morrow's partner in 24-25 as well. Morrow can provide all the offense and have a partner help cover up his defensive warts. It would give Forbort a year to learn the system before being the focal point of the pairing. His value should be around Joey Keane's rights or maybe even another round of future considerations.
Tomas Hertl, C, Sharks
The Sharks are going to move Karlsson. The talent base in SJ is going to Couture, Barabanov, and Hertl. Hertl's deal will begin to look worse and worse every season as he is asked to carry the offensive load for his line by himself. Hertl scored at a .5 ppg pace after Meier was traded to NJ. While that was a very small sample size, it is hard to imagine that pace would be over .65 without another big scorer on his line (see Eric Staal for reference). At 8.125 million and climbing into the 30s, that deal will become another negative when Hertl decides he is done with the rebuild .
The value of Hertl is somewhere around a 24 1st, Philly's 24 2nd, Trikizov and 2 B prospects. You may be thinking, how is this a value add? It is fringe value add but we are talking about a legit 1C who meets all of our needs, those typically go for a lot more. Big body, plays close to the net, strong FO taker, and strong 2 way game. Yes the deal will carry Hertl into his late 30s but his last season is very friendly to move. He will have a low real money hit his last season that is almost half signing bonus. So his 3.75 million salary, after signing bonus, may not be too hard to move his last year. Will SJ go for it? Dont know, they should before he returns are Burns level. Will Hertl accept a trade to Carolina? Dont know but does he really want to ride out a rebuild with bottom 5 finishes for the next 3 years?
Other potential value deals
Alec Martinez, D, Vegas: 1 year, 5.25 million deal left. Vegas may look to shed some money to Barbashev and Hill after their playoff performances. Low risk due to contract length. Possibly a 4th round pick type of value to move.
Tanner Pearson, LW, Vancouver. 1 year, 3.25 million deal left. A surprise addition to the Vancouver training camp for next year. It was assumed he would be a LTIR candidate for next year. This puts the Canucks in a further bad spot with their cap issues. He is Canes 3LW candidate with his speed, tenacity, and great defensive play. We could get paid around a 4th to take him on.
Connor Garland, RW, Vancouver. 3 years, 4.95 million per deal left. Garland is a tailor made Hurricanes winger. He is tenacious on the forecheck and plays a solid 2 way game. He is a top notch 5v5 scorer but rarely puts up PP points. Why is he a value add? 1. Vancouver is in a cap crunch. 2. the league is getting smart that smaller, perimeter based wingers dont have a lot of value.
Chris Driedger, G, Seattle. 1 year 3.5 million left. Another failed Ron Francis goalie signing. He finally looks to be healthy. Could he rebound for a year in our system? maybe, maybe not. The risk may be worth it depending on how the goalie market takes shape. He likely comes with a 3rd rounder for future considerations.
Blake Wheeler, RW, Jets. 1 year 8.25 million left. Serious cap retain would be required to take on this rumored locker room issue. He is a big body RW that can add RH faceoff prowess to the team and add depth scoring. At a full retain he should come really cheap. would be a decent replacement for Fast with a no risk contract.