Shortly after the Hurricanes announced a trade that sent Victor Rask to Minnesota for Nino Niederreiter I posted my initial reactionto the trade HERE.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks at Nino Niederreiter’s deal from a couple other angles.
Where does Nino Niederreiter fit in the current lineup?
The potential is there for Niederreiter to be a top 6 forward in the Hurricanes current lineup. He would need to rebound and score at a pace in the high end of his range to be slotted appropriately on one of the Canes first two lines. While there are no guarantees that it works, there is at least the potential that the Hurricanes upgraded scoring-wise. Though it is possible that Niederreiter starts on a lower line while he adjusts to a new team, I would expect that he will at least receive an audition on Aho or Staal’s line.
What, if any, are the financial implications?
The additional salary cap of $1.25 million per year is modest, but I still think the Niederreiter’s acquisition could have a couple significant ripple effects. First, compared to the possibility of trading Rask away for futures, Niederreiter does cost $5.25 million for three more years.
With the Hurricanes at the bottom of the NHL in terms of 2018-19 salary cap, this lone addition does not automatically spell the end for any Canes players. The current cost structure can fit Niederreiter without forcing the team to trade or not re-sign another player. In that regard, nothing changes with Sebastian Aho or Teuvo Teravainen who are both restricted free agents this summer. And at a basic level, the arrival of Niederreiter does not alter the basics of the team’s plans going forward. But as Aho, Teravainen and other young players come off their contracts,
So at a big picture level, Niederreiter does not significantly change things.
But Niederreiter’s arrival could play into the Micheal Ferland situation. Ferland is an unrestricted free agent this summer. The team will need to decide if Ferland should be re-signed or if he is just to pricey/risky and should be cut loose. Niederreiter is especially relevant to Ferland because at least theoretically he could fill Ferland’s slot as a scoring power forward with enough speed to play on a scoring line. By no means does the team need to limit itself to one such player, but if Niederreiter acclimates quickly and auditions well with Aho/Teravainen, that result could be significant for Ferland. First, he could become more expendable if Niederreiter can productively fill that significant slot in the lineup. Second, success by Niederreiter could suggest that Ferland is mostly just a complementary player who can be fairly easily replaced. Finally, if the team does bump down Ferland and he has a lull in terms of productivity like he did the first time, his market value could decrease significantly.
So while I would not say that this marks the inevitable end of Ferland’s time with the Hurricanes, the situation does potentially give the team some leverage in that negotiation.
Increase in Canes difficulty to play against
Niederreiter’s acquisition adds yet another player who is difficult to play against. After maybe being a bit too soft in years past, the Hurricanes have since added Jordan Martinook, Warren Foegele, Micheal Ferland and now Nino Niederreiter and in the process become significantly more difficult to play against.
The path ahead
I will be curious to see where Brind’Amour slots Niederreiter initially. Will he play initially on one of the depth lines and have some time to settle in without pressure to score? Or could Brind’Amour put him immediately on Aho’s line to see what he can do. My hunch is that Niedereiter slots initially on a lower line.
What say you Canes fans?
After a night to digest the trade news, how do you feel about the addition of Nino Niederreiter?