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Trade Matchmaker: The Carolina Hurricanes

Last week, we were graced by Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts and an idea of a trade surrounding Andreas Athanasiou for Justin Faulk. That got me thinking about the potential of a Carolina-Detroit trade and made me lose my mind with the possibilities.

First we must establish what both teams need.

The Needs

Detroit

We all know the direction this franchise is heading. The current roster is not good enough to be a playoff team and not bad enough to completely tank. Stuck in this grey area of every fan being frustrated beyond belief.

We can all agree that we should be looking towards the future for this Red Wings team and not really focus on the current roster and where they are now.

With a boatload of defensive prospects coming through the pipeline, I believe that at least a couple top-4 defenceman are somewhere among Cholowski, Hronek, Saarijarvi, Sulak, Hicketts, Lindstrom, and Sambrook. Just mathematically there has to be at least some NHL players in that group – they are all having too good of seasons this year to not be. So I would say unless there is that blue-chip defenceman out there, the Red Wings won’t be looking to add anything to that group of players.

Offensively, there is a massive future hole. The only forward prospects that are worth naming are: Svechnikov, Rasmussen, and Smith. Other than the young players that are already with the Wings (Larkin, Mantha, Athanasiou and Bertuzzi), those players are your only real chances at NHL forward talent. That’s tough. So ideally, the Wings should be looking at acquiring as many forward prospects as they can handle.

Teams need more forwards than defenceman, anyway. It’s just the facts!

Goaltending has been a bit of a priority with the last few drafts the Red Wings have had. Drafting one goaltender in 4 of the last 5 drafts demonstrate that. Filip Larsson is having a league-leading season in the USHL right now – but as we all know, goalies are unpredictable with development. So this can be a key position of interest, if the right goaltending prospect is on the market. But I wouldn’t count on them acquiring one of those big Russian names.

So essentially, the Wings should be looking at more forwards and those are always the most fun prospects to dream about.

Carolina

The Hurricanes have been everyone’s pre-season sleeper picks to make a huge improvement and make a statement in the playoffs. That unfortunately, has not been the case this year but hope is not lost.

The Metropolitan division is so damn tightly-packed that any hot run at the right time will secure a team that nice cozy playoff spot. As of February 13th, Carolina is in that second Wild Card spot, but wouldn’t Ron Francis want more security as they approach the deadline and the potential playoffs?

Defensively, this team is locked-in. A top-4 of: Hanifin, Faulk, Pesce and Slavin is a GM’s wet dream. Throw in depth pieces like Trevor van Riemsdyk, Haydn Fleury and Klas Dahlbeck, this is one damn good-looking blueline. They even have players like Jake Bean and current-Wolverine Luke Martin coming up through their pipeline. So can’t you spare one Ronny?

God I am so jealous.

Within their forward group, the Hurricanes have talent but not enough of it. Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner and Justin Williams are more experienced than most of the forwards on this team and they have offensive dynamos like Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen leading the team in points and still under 24-years-old.

Where they have insane depth on defence, they lack in true offensive depth beyond their leaders. Successful teams have that depth and loads of it.

Their goaltending is just straight up dogshit. Cam Ward has been there forever and has never looked like a top goalie in this league. They keep on trying to get the next backup-turned-starter, but failure after failure, Lack after Darling – they just need a reliable goalie behind that amazing defence.

The Trade

Now that we have established where each team’s strengths and weaknesses are, let’s talk about how damn good this trade partnership could be.

Basically, I am contributing to the Red Wings rebuild/retool and helping the Hurricanes make the playoffs and hopefully stay there. Both teams win, so of course this would be a good trade and should actually happen.

The Red Wings need future and controllable assets – preferably a forward. The Hurricanes need forward depth and players that can be there for the long-term.

To Detroit

To Carolina

2018 2nd-round pick

F Marcus Kruger – 3.08M/2 Yrs

F Janne Kuokkanen – 843k/3 Yrs

OR

F Eetu Luostarinen – unsigned pick

F Tomas Tatar – 5.3/4 Yrs

G Jimmy Howard – 2.65M/2 Yrs (50% retained salary)

 

Detroit Post-Trade Cap Space: $305,455

Carolina Post-Trade Cap Space: $11,519,167

I was trying to be conservative but this makes so much sense for both sides.

Carolina gets that desired forward-depth and a goaltender that can stop the few shots that actually get past that defence. Detroit gets a nice pick, a high-ceiling forward prospect, and a buried cap hit to sweeten the deal.

The Hurricanes will have enough cap space to pay Hanifin and Lindholm this year – as well as Aho, Teravainen and Fleury the year after that.

Come yell at me on Twitter, please.

Complications

As with any trade proposal, there are complications that come along with it.

Detroit

As you can see, the cap situation doesn’t change that much. But what else are they going to spend it on? They have contracts ending this year and hopefully that is enough space to sign Mantha, Larkin and Anthanasiou to the contracts that they deserve. If not, they need to make more creative trades.

Howard has a No-Trade Clause in his contract that allows him to list 10 teams that he is allowed to be traded to. Hopefully he pays enough attention to the league and sees that the Hurricanes would be a damn nice defence to play behind. Also, there’s better BBQ.

Tatar needs to be traded before July 1st of this year. He has a full No-Trade Clause that begins on that date and the Red Wings sure as hell don’t want to be handcuffed to the remainder of that contract.

Carolina

Exactly how much better do the Hurricanes get with this trade? I would say a significant amount.

They do not have to part from any piece that is on their current roster – that is a massive bonus for them. Unfortunately, they do have to part with at least one of their forward prospects, but I would say it’s worth it while the team is young and veteran Jordan Staal is still able to play those important minutes.

A big complication is that now the Hurricanes have 3 goalies. Francis could always include Cam Ward into this trade, but Ward has a NTC that allows him to list 15 teams that he wants to be traded to. I doubt the Wings would be one of those teams.

Francis could always just trade him away to one of those 15 teams that want a bad back-up goalie for the rest of the season, so who knows? He can figure it out.

Variations

This trade is just one possibility out of many between these two teams.

Detroit has another capable forward in Nyquist, but he holds the NTC in any deal and Carolina might not seem so sexy to him. He is only one contract for one more year, so he could possibly accept that deal. The Red Wings just need good young forwards and Carolina has so damn many.

Acquiring that forward depth for the present might cost some of the future. If you could trade one Martin Necas and acquire both of those pieces, I would personally love that for the Red Wings. Necas is that centre prospect that the Wings need so damn badly now. He was selected just 3 picks after Michael Rasmussen…

Kuokkanen, Luostarinen or Necas would instantly become Detroit’s top forward prospect.

But what if the Red Wings really want to get that blue-chip young defenceman? Well, there are these two guys named Haydn Fleury and Jake Bean.

Detroit could go all-in on their future defensive core and really shine it up with one of Fleury or Bean. It will cost more than just Tatar and Howard, but it can really be worth it.

The Hurricanes have too many good defenceman already and they need to share the wealth.

Basically, knowing the needs of both teams and what they have in surplus, you could easily insert names and their value into whatever trade could work for both sides.

Why Now?

I agree, this trade does seem a little weird for a deadline move. But the Hurricanes are pushing for the playoffs right now and I am sure they want some sweet forward depth that Tatar would bring. As well as some stability in net for the playoffs in Howard.

At this year’s draft, this trade can work as well – none of these contracts are up after this season. There is hope!

This whole trade scenario might seem outlandish, but I’m just a boy with some dreams. Dreams of the Red Wings to establish a nice forward prospect pool.

Is that too much to ask, Ron?