Today’s Daily Cup of Joe is part 4 in a series leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft weekend and the offseason frenzy that begins in earnest with it.
If you missed the first three parts, you can find them here:
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a turn at being the Carolina Hurricanes general manager.
Deals I would do
Disclaimer: I am not going to get bogged down in specifics of the trades past the principal players.
Jeff Skinner to Los Angeles for Jake Muzzin (or another top 4 defenseman)
As I have said multiple times, I think the time is now to make a long-term decision on Jeff Skinner and either sign him to an extension or trade him rather than risking a Tavares-like white knuckler late into the next season. By no means would I trade Skinner for pennies on the dollar, but if a reasonable offer arose, I would take it. In a nutshell, I just do not think Jeff Skinner is a player who is worth what his next contract will cost. He is a top-end player offensively but never really did figure out the balance also be at least an adequate two-way player. Ready to enter his ninth season in the NHL, at some point you have to evaluate a player based on what he is not what he might become.
Scott Darling to Chicago for Marian Hossa’s contract
Rumors and rumblings have offered a number of more sizable deals between the the regular trade partners, but I think simplest is to hash out a deal that sees Chicago reclaim Scott Darling with the Hurricanes eating some salary and the Hurricanes taking Marian Hossa’s contract. (Hossa is not expected to return to the NHL, so he represents a $5.275 million salary cap hit for three years but significantly only a $1 million per year actual salary.) I just think betting on a Scott Darling rebound is about as low of a probability as possible given other alternatives. The mental and emotional baggage is significant after the 2017-18 season. I also think improving goaltending is critical to rising up the standings. Finally, Ithink that Chicago makes a ton of sense. The Blackhawks need a backup for Crawford, and the return home is easily the most plausible story for a Darling rebound in 2018-19.
If the Hurricanes could pull this off, they would have shed about $4 million of salary and would have addressed what in my opinion are the two top needs in adding a goalie and a steady, stabilizing top 4 defenseman. The team would also become better defensively by subtraction with the trade of Jeff Skinner. No doubt the Hurricanes will need to add scoring over the course of the offseason.
Addressing the other rumblings
If I could get him signed to a reasonably-priced bridge deal, my preference would be to patiently give Hanifin two more years to round into form. But if his agent pushes for a huge deal, I would strongly consider trading Hanifin for a new lottery ticket in the form of another top 8ish draft pick. I just think the risk-reward is out of whack for committing high $ for long-term to a third pairing defenseman who has upside.
Because his contract has another year on it, the situation is not as urgency for Justin Faulk. That said, I do think there is a chance that he gets traded, possibly to back fill offense needed with Skinner’s departure. Give me a comparable forward, and I would at least consider doing the deal.
Over the next couple days, there will certainly be rumors that the Hurricanes are considering trading the #2 overall draft pick. I do not buy it. Everything that I read suggests that Svechnikov has pulled away from the pack of forwards. As a high-end player with the potential to be elite, it makes no sense to trade for a veteran.
Call for patience
Though I do think Canes fans will see a significant deal or two this summer, I think the probability is high that the team emerges from the upcoming weekend without having made a significant deal yet. Jeff Skinner is part of an unusual mix of available talent at left wing with Ilya Kovalchuk returning to the NHL and Max Pacioretty also allegedly available. So I peg the odds at a fairly low 1 in 3 chance for this weekend.
What say you Canes fans?
1) If you had to boil down this week’s daily spit-balling and make a deal or two, what would they be?
2) Do you think we see a trade this weekend, or will we have to wait?