If you are still catching up on yesterday’s trade of Scott Darling and a sixth round draft pick to Florida for goalie James Reimer, you can find my thoughts on the trade HERE.
Last week I posted an article on the Carolina Hurricanes the upcoming free agency frenzy. That article offered sort of a checklist of the needs that the Hurricanes could be shopping to fill. If you missed it, you can find that article HERE.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers quick thoughts on what the Hurricanes might or might not do in the free agent market.
Possible remaining needs
One more forward?
The addition of Erik Haula added good middle-tier depth at the forward position and also brought in another potential center for a second or third line. Especially if Justin Williams returns, I do not think the Hurricanes would be in a horrible position at forward if they entered the 2019-20 season with the current group. But I also think that path leaves some risk in terms of being able to generate enough offensively especially if the team suffered an injury or two to one its few higher-end offensive players. I have long advocated for adding a legitimate C2 who leans playmaking/scoring. While I still think there is a possibility that the Hurricanes add another forward, I would be shocked to see such a player added from the top tier of the free agent market on Monday. More likely could be another trade or opportunistically picking up a center a bit later once prices fall.
Yet another goalie?
This week, the Hurricanes added two goalies via trade to go with Alex Nedeljkovic. Yet, I do not think it is impossible that the Hurricanes add one more. A Reimer/Nedeljkovic could work but would leave a lot to chance. Nedeljkovic seems to have the ‘it’ factor of an NHL starter and did all he could do in the AHL during the 2018-19 to show that he was ready to step up to the NHL level. But rookie goalies, no matter how promising at the AHL level, are a bit of a crap shoot. And very recently Reimer played at the level of a capable, even if not elite, starter. The question for the 31-year old is whether a sub-par 2018-19 season was the beginning of the end for him or if a rebound is in the offing. Some might say that the situation and the wild cards currently slotted for the crease are not significantly different than last summer. I actually think that is true. But I still think that if the team gets the opportunity to increase the odds of solid goaltending that it should take it.
Most likely (at least initially) is nothing
A good starting point, even if not particularly exciting, is to acknowledge that the most likely result for the Hurricanes on Monday especially is nothing. Over the weekend, I posted the following on Twitter:
It tends to have a slightly negative feeling the day it happens and teams (theoretically) improve, with longer-term prioritized, I hope every one of these high-end names (except Aho :-)) signs in the Eastern Conference for $12M each.
— Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) June 28, 2019
This might sound odd, but the best possible long-term outcome for Monday could be if the bidding wars for top players go to the extreme and Metropolitan Division foes win the massively risky contracts that result.
But what might the Canes do?
Here is a quick list of moves both reasonably likely and very unlikely.
Makes sense: The deal with the highest probability continues to be re-signing Petr Mrazek. Signing him could necessitate trading Reimer and/or Forsberg especially if the team decides it wants Nedeljkovic to become at least the backup in the 2019-20 season. But the time is still there to do that.
The pipe dream: Of the bigger names out there, Joe Pavelski is still the one that could make some sense. As an older player, he might be willing to consider a two or three-year deal, and I think he could be exactly the catalyst needed for a second scoring line in addition to a big boost for the power play and more leadership. Unfortunately, he seems to have added only a short list of destinations outside of San Jose which, if true, would take him out of play for the Canes.
A better risk/reward ratio: The Hurricanes are unlikely to play in the top tier. The risk is incredibly high there anyway. But might the team lean forward and sign a middle tier forward who can add some offense? That group could include players like Ryan Dzingel and Gustav Nyquist.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Could the Hurricanes surprise again and win a top-tier free agent?
2) What do you see as the chances that the Hurricanes still re-sign Petr Mrazek despite now having three goalies seemingly competing for two goalie slots?
3) From the more middle tier of forwards, who do you like?
4) Who has predictions for Monday and free agency in general?