Hurricanes trade Jeff Skinner to Buffalo for three draft picks and prospect Cliff Pu (Part 1)

Hurricanes trade Jeff Skinner to Buffalo for three draft picks and prospect Cliff Pu (Part 1)

My Twitter-size comments from shortly after the news broke that Jeff Skinner had been traded are at the bottom of this post. I stand by that initial reaction. What follows are more detailed thoughts on today’s big trade. Because of the magnitude of the deal and the fact that I am not sitting down to write this until after midnight, I will break it into two parts. Today’s first part will focus on the on-ice (and to some degree in locker room) evaluation of the trade. Part two will consider bigger picture things like the effect on the fan base and community.   Preludes Coming out of the Dougie Hamilton/Micheal Ferland trade and before the Calvin de Haan signing, I wrote an article on July 3 entitled, “Is the other shoe about to drop? And if so, what does it entail?” In that article one of two possible series of moves detailed on July 3 was: Justin Faulk is traded for a scoring forward => Calvin deHaan is signed as a free agent => Jeff Skinner is traded primarily for high-end futures possibly with a depth forward or defenseman included By adding de Haan via free agency instead of trade, this version of dealing sees the Hurricanes replace Faulk, replace Skinner and still net a nice pile of futures to boot. Two of those three deals are now a reality. Then on July 4, I followed up with an article entitled, “The next domino is…?” In that article, I wrote: So I think the ideal outcome goes like this: 1) Justin Faulk is traded for a comparable forward who is...
Chuck Kaiton out as Carolina Hurricanes radio broadcaster

Chuck Kaiton out as Carolina Hurricanes radio broadcaster

On Tuesday, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that it would be parting ways with long-time radio voice and Hall-of-Famer Chuck Kaiton. If you wish to read my thoughts on today’s news in chronological order, I recommend scrolling to the bottom first where you can find my initial comments on Twitter and also a comment posted to yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe article shortly after the news was announced. Please also check out Wednesday’s Daily Cup of Joe that is on topic with a Mount Rushmore list of six from Carolina Hurricanes history.   The business side of Chuck Kaiton and radio coverage As I said briefly on Twitter, this transition was inevitable at some point. Years ago when the team only covered about 60 percent of the games on television, the market for radio broadcasts was significantly larger. In addition to 82-game television coverage, the arrival of DVRs and maybe more significantly smart phones decreases the need for radio coverage. Fans now have multiple ways to track the game in real time from any mobile device. And sure enough, estimates from the News & Observer’s article on the event suggest that fewer than 2,000 people were tuning in for radio broadcasts. And the costs are significant. In his article at WRALSportsFan.com, Adam Gold estimated the annual costs at $500,000 to produce the broadcasts. It is difficult to tell if that is the amount the loss or just a cost to be netted against advertising revenue. Regardless, the amount is enough to be significant for an NHL team, the team is losing money on it and the trend is negative looking...
Carolina Hurricanes re-sign Trevor van Riemsdyk for 2 years at $2.3 million per year — Initial thoughts

Carolina Hurricanes re-sign Trevor van Riemsdyk for 2 years at $2.3 million per year — Initial thoughts

In what has been a busy week building the blue line, the Hurricanes on Thursday announced that the team had re-signed Trevor van Riemsdyk to a two-year contract for $2.3 million per year.   Trevor van Riemsdyk in 2017-18 Shortly after the deal was announced, I said on Twitter that van Riemsdyk was the steadiest of the Hurricanes defensemen in 2017-18. (This is not saying that he was the best defenseman…just most consistent in his specific role.) He was pretty consistent from beginning to end and was the anchor for a much-improved third defense pairing with a young defenseman next to him for virtually every shift. His scoring was modest with 3 goals and 13 assists but virtually nothing for power play ice time contributed to those totals. More significantly, van Riemsdyk stood out as a consistently solid defenseman and was the driving force for the third pairing improving by leaps and bounds over the 2016-17 season.   Trevor van Riemsdyk as a mentor On Twitter after the signing was announced, I said: 4/5 Most impressive was uncanny ability to adapt to what his young partner needed,similar to John-Michael Liles with Pesce. He did heavy lifting with Fleury and initially with Hanifin but then had good knack for when to defer and push puck to Hanifin when he was confident/going. — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) July 6, 2018 Trevor van Riemsdyk started the season next to rookie Haydn Fleury. Fleury acclimated quickly to the NHL without any dramatic growing pains. Van Riemsdyk played a significant role in Fleury’s positive start in the NHL. Especially early on, van Riemsdyk did...
Carolina Hurricanes sign defenseman Calvin de Haan

Carolina Hurricanes sign defenseman Calvin de Haan

As has started to become commonplace, just when things seem really quiet and the news week or at least day is over, the Carolina Hurricanes drop something. Ron Francis was let go when the majority of the local media was off at the ACC basketball tourney in New York. The trade for Dougie Hamilton and Micheal Ferland was announced just when it seemed like everyone was packing up their tents from the draft. And today, after hours on the Fourth of July eve, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that the team had signed defenseman Calvin de Haan to a four-year deal for $4.05 million per year. I have been chirping about de Haan as a logical target and priority since before the start of free agency, so much of what I have to say about the deal will be a repeat of what I have written in the last week.   Why Calvin de Haan? How we arrived here The history of recent struggles building out a solid top 4 Last summer when many were enthralled with the high end ‘potential’ of the Hurricanes young blue line, I suggested that the team could use a bit more proven help short-term in the form of a player who could help solidify the second defense pairing. In 2016-17, the roar of how good the young Hurricanes blue line was going to be someday mostly drowned out the reality of a team that struggled to find top 4 balance on the road. At home, the Hurricanes played strength on strength with an emerging first pairing of Slavin/Pesce, but especially on the road, the...
Carolina Hurricanes sign goalie Petr Mrazek

Carolina Hurricanes sign goalie Petr Mrazek

(Those who visited Canes and Coffee last spring when the team was imploding will get the ice cream in the picture. Could Darling/Mrazek boost local ice cream sales?) The opening day of the free agent signing period for the NHL, the Hurricanes addressed the team’s need to add a goalie. Shortly after it was officially announced that Cam Ward had signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, the Hurricanes announced the signing of Petr Mrazek to fill the slot previously occupied by Ward.   The deal Petr Mrazek was signed for a bargain basement $1.5 million and with an ultra low risk one-year deal. The upside is that the deal eats up pretty much minimal budget and cannot be a negative past the end of the 2018-19 season. So the deal rates incredibly high for avoiding long-term financial risks.   Petr Mrazek’s history As for the player that the Hurricanes obtained for their $1.5 million investment, in simplest terms I would consider Mrazek to be a high risk, high reward option and even a bit of a rebound bet. After a step-wise path and some seasoning at the AHL level with a few NHL games, Mrazek burst onto the NHL scene in during the 2014-15 season with a 16-9-2 record and a .918 save percentage and 2.38 goals against average. Mrazek continued his ascension in 2015-16 by seizing the Red Wings’ starting job and posting a 27-16-6 record in 54 starts with a solid .921 save percentage and 2.38 goals against average. His 2015-16 season vaulted him over Jimmy Howard, put him on the list of promising young starters at on...
2018 NHL free agent frenzy preview from a Carolina Hurricanes’ angle

2018 NHL free agent frenzy preview from a Carolina Hurricanes’ angle

Sunday kicks off open season for teams looking to use heavy ammo in the form of bunches of dollars to attract free agents. For the longest time, the Hurricanes have been small players in these yearly festivities mostly quietly adding depth players while the fireworks were going off across the league. The team did add Justin Williams on the opening day of 2017’s free agency, but even medium size additions have been few and far between otherwise. With new management in place that already made a blockbuster type trade during draft weekend, might this year be different? At a minimum, the Hurricanes are definitely in the market for a goalie and per comments by Don Waddell at the prospect camp Summerfest, that addition could be made within 24 hours. As you settle in for what can be an interesting day on Sunday, here are a few articles from earlier this week that set the stage for today’s deal-making article. Part 1 shopped the goalie options that will likely come into play. Part 2 assessed and slotted the team’s forwards. And coming out of the Dougie Hamilton/Micheal Ferland trade, I talked about the likely next steps on defense.   So by position, here is a quick guide to Sunday’s NHL fun…   At goalie This is one area where the team is certain to make a deal at some point. Cam Ward seems destined for the Chicago Blackhawks which leaves one opening for a goalie with the Hurricanes. The article above handicapped the primary options. My 2 cents says this: 1) I want a goalie on a one or two-year...