The Hurricanes are currently in last place in the Metropolitan Division with a 22-19-8 record and 52 points. While that may seem less than ideal, the team is still just four points out of a wildcard spot and five points out of second place in the division. What a crazy division it is.
The Canes have had an up and down season. They’ve shown glimpses of being a legit contender, and they’ve been simply embarrassing, and sometimes there is no in between.
Currently, the team has five 30 point scorers (Teravainen-39, Aho-37, Skinner-31, Williams-31, Staal-30). Nobody has more goals than Aho’s 16, but there are seven players with 11 or more goals. While those numbers aren’t too bad, they could be much better.
With such a young and promising roster, the team being on the outside of the playoff picture is disappointing to many. The offensive numbers have room for improvement, the defense has taken an overwhelming step back, and the goaltending has continued to be mediocre at best.
With February 26th’s Trade Deadline approaching, the time is now to explore some potential moves that the team may or may not look at making. So here is a list of options to consider as we approach the most wonderful trade season of them all!
Realistic Target #1: Mike Hoffman, LW, Ottawa Senators
Contract: $5.18M through 19-20
Stats: 12 goals, 30 points in 47GP
Hoffman is just an exciting player to watch. I would argue that if the Canes were to make one trade, it would be for Hoffman. He has a good shot and his numbers would be better if he weren’t playing for the Senators. Adding Hoffman to the mix would solidify the team’s top nine, give them insurance on the wing should they move young star Sebastian Aho to center, or if they saw an injury to another key forward.
Putting Hoffman next to Lindholm would be something special. The question becomes, what to they do with the current players if they acquire Hoffman? If the Canes trade for Hoffman with the intentions of shifting Aho to center while also bringing Martin Necas overseas (which I believe is the plan) next season, there is a logjam. If Hoffman does find his way to the Canes, I believe that Victor Rask will either a) be part of the package to acquire Hoffman, or b) be traded in a separate deal to open up that spot on the wing.
While it’s possible that the Canes might acquire Hoffman and keep everything else in-tact, it’s very possible that the above scenario causes speculation. Plus, it’s more fun to play the “what if?” game. Any package for Hoffman probably starts with Jake Bean and a first round draft pick, and that’s a price that I would be willing to pay.
Unrealistic Target #1: John Tavares, C, New York Islanders
Contract: UFA at end of season
Current stats: 26 goals, 57 points in 50 GP
I’ll catch heat for this one, but hear me out. The Islanders are in the middle of a playoff push, they are getting very encouraging news regarding an arena deal, and it just doesn’t make sense for them to trade their franchise player. If you are the Islanders, do you give an all-in push to keep the face of your franchise, using all of these encouraging signs as ways to entice him, or do you trade him for draft picks and probably have to build your roster back up? If I’m the Islanders, I keep Tavares around this year, hopefully make the playoffs, and I pitch to him. I say we are a playoff team. I show him the new details surrounding the arenas. I show him that Josh Bailey just had a breakout year playing beside him. I just can’t see the Islanders trading him, it’s as simple as that.
Disclaimer: I 100% hope the Islanders don’t trade him and the Canes take their playoff spot and sign Tavares as a free agent in the summer.
Realistic Target #2: Alex Galchenyuk, C/W, Montreal Canadiens
Contract: $4.9M through 19-20
Current stats: 12 goals, 28 points in 49GP
Is it a coincidence that Galchenyuk always has very good games against the Canes? Well, probably. The team needs help in the top six. It’s easy to see that. Is Galchenyuk the most enticing option out there? Absolutely not. But he could potentially be a special player in our top nine playing with a guy like Jeff Skinner, Sebastian Aho, or Teuvo Teravainen. Galchenyuk would arguably be an upgrade over Victor Rask, so I would be fine with acquiring him. He also gives the team flexibility this offseason, since Derek Ryan is a free agent and the team has decisions to make with Necas, Aho, and the looming contracts of guys like Skinner, Aho, Teravainen, and Lindholm. He’s not the flashiest name out there, especially not after the last year in Montreal, but he’d be an interesting option for the Canes and I would like to see how it would play out.
Unrealistic Target #2: A Goaltender
I know that Scott Darling has been disappointing. But this summer the team made a commitment to him. Four years, over $4 million each year. You don’t pay a goalie that kind of money to step back and run away after about 30 games. If you commit that much to a goalie, you have to take the time to figure out what is wrong with him. You have to work it out and fix it.
Darling’s transition from a backup to a starter, from Chicago to Raleigh, was never going to be an easy one. Goaltenders are tough to figure out. But we need to give him time. Darling sounds encouraged about the future here. He seems committed to working with the team and figuring this thing out. Darling acknowledged that things have been disappointing but gave us hope that it can be resolved. Once again, I believe in Scott Darling. And even if you don’t, he’s not going anywhere. So let’s rally behind him.
Plus, what starting goalie is the team realistically going to go out and get anyways?
Wow, there are some “hot” takes in this article. I guess this is a good time to say that I don’t care what Evander Kane does on the ice. I don’t want him anywhere near this hockey team.
The trade deadline is a crazy time of the year. I don’t know what’s going to happen and neither does anybody else. But one thing is for sure. Ron Francis has built this team out of the “sellers” category. No more wondering “what will we get for _?” We are past those days. The team has the potential to improve at the trade deadline and can really put itself into the playoff picture. I’m excited for it and you should be too.