Early Thoughts on the Niederreiter Trade

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So what if I told you that the Hurricanes would be trading for Nino Niederreiter in a one-for-one deal? I’m sure that your reaction would be something like this:

Now what if I told you that the player headed to Minnesota in this deal was Victor Rask and that there would be no salary retained or future assets involved? Your reaction would probably look like this:

This trade is real and not one that you just see on CapFriendly Armchair GM from a guy whose username is CanesFan2006 or something like that. This is real and it’s fantastic for the Hurricanes. Niederreiter is in the midst of a bit of a lackluster season by his standards, although he is on pace to surpass last season’s total of 32 points. Minnesota was not happy with the 26-year-old forward and thought that a change of scenery might help him out. In return, Minnesota takes on the contract of Victor Rask, a player who has been largely disappointing for a few years now. Even Rask’s 45-point 2016-2017 season is a bit misleading. The forward went on a tear at the beginning of the season and looked like a legitimate 2C. He disappeared in the second half of the season and hasn’t been the same ever since. Two surgeries and a lacerated hand later, we get today’s version of Victor Rask.

As it stands right now, Victor Rask has six points in 26 games, five of which are assists. He has had a decent stretch of games where he has three assists in a five game span, so it’s entirely possible that he’s on his way back to form. Still, Niederreiter has 23 points and a knack for scoring goals, something the Hurricanes are lacking. Niederreiter will fit nicely into the Hurricanes’ top six and will be capable of 45-50 points if utilized properly.

The financial situation of the deal is a bit interesting. Rask and Niederreiter both have three years left on their deals, with Rask’s deal coming in at a cap hit of $4 million and Niederreiter’s coming in at $5.25 million. The Hurricanes are paying $1.25 million more to have Niederreiter on their roster, but they’re also paying to have a player that is practically guaranteed to help the team. Niederreiter is a physical player that can score goals, and some fans are comparing him to Micheal Ferland. While it may be true that this move was made to offset the impact that trading away Ferland could have, the Hurricanes made themselves better by making the move. Niederreiter helps the team in their push for the playoffs as well as for the next three seasons. He’ll be a key part in this team’s forward core for a while, which is a big part of why a lot of people in hockey are a fan of this deal.

There is the chance that Rask rebounds and becomes a good center for the Wild. There’s also the chance that he doesn’t improve and the Wild are stuck with a lackluster player for three more years. It’s very possible that Rask’s production is a result of him playing with Skinner, which was the reason for signing him to that big six year, $4 million contract. The Hurricanes came out ahead on this deal, and they’re not done making moves yet. Don Waddell and the rest of the GM-By-Committee will have some tough decisions to make in the next few weeks. Niederreiter was a positive step in the right direction, now we just have to wait for the next move to be made.

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