The Carolina Hurricanes made just a single deal in the waning minutes as the NHL’s trade deadline came to a close.
The Canes sent out former 2014 seventh overall pick, Haydn Fleury, to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for 29 year old Finnish defenseman, Jani Hakanpaa, and a 2022 sixth-round pick.
In Hakanpaa, Carolina is getting the right-handed defenseman they’ve been searching for, but also one who is a 6’5” and 218-pound, stay-at-home defender that also brings another physical edge to the lineup.
Canes general manager Don Waddell spoke with the media via Zoom following the end of the deadline. Here’s what he had to say:
On the trade: We’d been talking about getting a right-hand shot defenseman. I’d been pretty open about it. We just felt that to compliment what we have already that a stay-at-home, big guy who can play with one of our offensive guys made a lot of sense for us. When you make trades, first of all they’re not easy to make. But you look at fits. What works for your hockey club? We just feel this was a better fit for us, and that’s why the decision was made to make the trade.
On if the expansion draft played into the decision: You put all these things into your thinking when you’re making deals right now. We know we potentially would have issues with our defense via the expansion draft and so instead of just letting a player walk away potentially for nothing, we’ll still lose a good player one way or another, we just felt that that was part of it. It wasn’t the driver of the decision, but it was definitely a part of it. Right now, we really like our hockey team. That’s why we didn’t make a lot of changes, but we really felt that we needed this stay-at-home, right-hand shot defenseman. This deal came about.
On when the deal came about: We talked throughout the day. We talked to lots of teams. We probably had 10 or 12 deals going on at the same time. I think the decision was made sometime before 2 o’clock that we were going to go in this direction. So today was one day. We’ve been talking about different deals regarding this player for a few days now. So it was no surprise when I kept telling them ‘We’re getting closer on making a decision.’ We had multiple teams that were talking to us, but we thought this fit was the best for our hockey club as we sit here today.
On how the salary cup affected the deadline: The salary cap plays in, definitely, as you see some of the deals that were made around the league. It had to pass through another team to get the cap hit down. It’s not like the old days where if you want a player you just go make the deal. There’s lots more maneuvering, a lot more involved in it. But I do think the cap does preclude some teams from making wholesale changes. To me, I think the cap’s there for a purpose, and it serves its purpose on a day like today.
On if he talked with Aho about Hakanpaa: We talked to Aho about this player a few years ago actually, when he was a free agent and coming over here. Sebastian had nothing but good things to say, he was a teammate of Sebastian’s. He had nothing but good things to say about the character, what type of guys he was and all that. Anytime we make deals, we always make sure we do as much background check as we can. You don’t always have the luxury of doing it. We’ve known this player for several years now, and felt very comfortable with our team our culture that we have here.
On Teuvo Teravainen’s status: I know it’s been a little bit of a battle. This last week has been much better for him and he’s been skating now and getting closer. We don’t have a date yet. The good thing is that every day is that he’s been showing improvements and hopefully we’ll get him back into the lineup soon.
On Bob Murray and repairing the relationship after leaks last year: Bob and I have a long history of deals. We’ve known each other for a long time so certain things happen that probably shouldn’t have happened but they were no issue. I talked to Bob a lot this year on many things. The one thing is when we made this trade, and it was clear that I told our people to make sure to keep things very quiet until this deal comes down, because you don’t ever want to get into any kind of situation where someone is afraid to deal with you. But I have a great deal of respect for Bob. When you’re trading players you’ve got to be careful because whenever I make a trade I want the player to hear it from me first. Not from the media. And today, when I called Fleury it wasn’t out there at all. They called their player and that’s the way you want it to go down. When the player first hears about it, it’s from the general manager.
On Andrei Svechnikov’s contract status: There’s no priority on which one gets done [between Svechnikov and Hamilton]. We did the same thing with Andrei [in regards to tabling contract discussions] some time back in the season. Different circumstances, one’s a UFA and one’s a RFA. We said to Andrei’s camp, ‘Let’s just let him play hockey and finish out the year here and when the season’s over we’ll sit down and figure out what the next contract is going to look like.’ There’s no priority of one having to get done over the other one. We’re still hopeful that we get them both done in a short time and we can move forward
On if Waddell was more so receiving calls or if he was the one making them: The way these things work is that I start getting feelers for who is looking for what. I initiate a lot of calls and some guys hear stuff and call me. The issue was that most teams we were talking to were offering future draft picks and younger players. Any of the teams that are right in the mix now are having a hard time moving players off their roster. We listened to that, but we also knew that we didn’t want to go down the stretch right here leading into the playoffs minus a defenseman if we weren’t replacing him so that’s what we always focused on and we were more vocal in that we wanted a right-shot defenseman. That’s what I kept telling teams. That was our desire. If we don’t get that we’ll revisit at a later date. We pretty much talked to quite a few teams about Haydn.
On if there was any consideration to trading one of the three goalies: I think we’re in a different year this year because of all the games that are going to be played. We feel really good about our three goalies and yeah, if somebody had came along and said that they’d give you X and you thought it was worth it, you’d at least listen to it. But I know when me and Rod talked about it, we were all comfortable with having three goalies. Certainly there’s going to be some guys that aren’t going to play as much as others, but with the injuries, Petr just came back and with what we’ve gone through the last few years, we just felt that we really needed these three goalies. We had the roster space and the cap space so we weren’t put in a position where we felt that we had to make a trade.
On when Hakanpaa is expected to be in the lineup: I think he will be ready to go Thursday night. We’re bringing him in tonight. Should be here late tonight so he won’t miss any days of testing. I think once he gets here, tomorrow will be a day off so he’ll practice on Wednesday and be ready to go on Thursday.
On if the team views Hakanpaa as more than a rental: No doubt about it. There’s no reason to talk about it right now. Let him come in and get settled. I think we have a good thing going here and I think he’ll find that out. Obviously he’s talked to Sebastian before and a couple of our other Finnish players so I think he could potentially be a good fit. Something that we look at longer term.