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The NHL’s official trade deadline on March 5 is only one month away, and the NHL Olympic trade freeze goes into effect tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. EST until Feb. 23. Rumours are starting to swirl in regards to big name players that may be on the move by tomorrow, or after the Olympic break. Keep in mind rumours are rumours, and all major sport media outlets like TSN do a great job of getting fans thinking that any upcoming unrestricted free agent could be on their way to your favourite team. When in reality, trade deadline day is either hit or miss.
Last year’s deadline saw the likes of Jason Pominville, Marion Gaborik, Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy moving to new teams; so it wasn’t a complete let down.
Cutting the Juice loose
Oh and need I remind ‘Canes fans that Jussi Jokinen was moved to Pittsburgh for a SEVENTH-round draft pick. The Hurricanes are also paying $900,000 of his current $3 million salary this year (and did it last year too)…what an atrocious trade. Jokinen can play wing or centre, play on both special teams, wins over 50 per cent of his faceoffs and has put up 16 goals and 25 assists in 57 games for the Penguins this year.
Rutherford gave the Pens an extremely versatile and useful player for nothing, and is even helping dish out Jussi’s salary. I realize Jokinen’s numbers may be the result of having Evgeni Malkin playing as his centreman, but nonetheless, Jokinen has played admirably this year and there is no doubt JR gave up on the Finnish Olympian way to easily.
Lets hope Rutherford doesn’t make a bad move like this one before this year’s deadline.
Potential trade targets
Last year at the deadline the Hurricanes were completely out of the playoff mix, and on their way to a top five pick at the draft. This year the Hurricanes are in the thick of the playoff race, and look poised to make a run at third in their division or pick up one of the two wild card spots. As of this afternoon they are three points back of both their division and wild card thanks to a 10 win January.
In my opinion I would really like the team to add a top six forward, third line centreman or perhaps a defenseman. Jeff Skinner is currently playing with Jordan Staal on the second line, but it never seems to last long. Normally Nathan Gerbe and Patrick Dwyer flank Staal, and although Gerbe is having a great season those just aren’t two guys I see as consistent top six forwards (Dwyer in particular).
I think Rutherford will likely trade for at least one player (probably not named in my choices). Most of these players are heavily sought after, so the Hurricanes would have to be willing to give up assets.
The wizard is another guy that the Hurricanes should have never let get away from them. Although Whitney has struggled through injuries the past two seasons, he can be a major offensive performer when healthy. The left-winger has over 1000 points in his career and over 1300 games of experience. Some of his best years were spent with Carolina (334 pts in 372 games), including 2005-06 when the ‘Canes captured the Cup. Whitney could slot in on any of the top three lines, and could help Carolina’s woeful powerplay while bringing some major leadership to the room.
Moulson is one of the most highly sought after players approaching the deadline. The three time 30 goal scorer would look great in the ‘Canes top six and on their top powerplay unit. The asking price for Moulson will be large, and the Hurricanes would be competing for his services with essentially every other playoff contending team.
I originally had Mike Cammalleri on this list, but the rumour is that Cammy wants to end up on a west coast team. Plus the apparent asking price by the Flames is a first-round pick, and a good young roster player. Cammy has also struggled through injuries and concussion concerns this season to go along with his $6 million cap hit, so the Hurricanes will almost certainly stay away from him.
Stempniak will likely only cost one roster player or a third or later round draft pick. He would bring some potential scoring to the Hurricanes roster on the right side, and has almost 10 NHL seasons under his belt. I don’t think he is a big upgrade on the second line, but he could play third line minutes as well and add some depth up front. Apart from one NHL season where he had 52 points, his next highest season total was 38 points so Stemper would likely be nothing more than a rental.
The Blues will want a roster player or two, and/or a draft pick for Stewart. He is the big body right-winger that the Hurricanes desperately need in their forward corps, and he has put up 28 goals twice in his career. He lacks consistency in his game, but if he slotted in with Jordan on the right side he could be magical. On a really deep St. Louis team this year, Stewart has only averaged 13:37 of ice time per game. Given the opportunity for more ice time, he easily has 30 goal potential.
Although I am not a fan of Ott, he would add some major versatility to the lineup. I can’t recall the last time the Hurricanes had a major pest in their lineup (Chad LaRose is probably the best nomination). Ott can play anywhere in the lineup, kill penalties and could replace Riley Nash at centre.
In terms of blueliners there aren’t a ton of names that have come up that would make a big improvement on the backend. Andrew MacDonald plays a ton of minutes and can chip in offensively, but how reliable is he defensively? Derek Morris would add more veteran presence, but Phoenix is in a tight playoff chase in the west so I don’t see him getting moved.
Let me know what you think. Who else should the Hurricanes be going after at the deadline?