The 2019 NHL trade deadline on Monday, February 25 is now less than three weeks away. My hope is to write a more detailed article on the subject from a Carolina Hurricanes perspective over the weekend, but to be honest the situation is probably in a holding pattern for another week or two anyway with the team playing its way up close to the playoff cut line.
Nonetheless, here are a few quick hitters on the trade deadline possibilities…
Need to stay focused on the rink
The lead up to the trade deadline has quite literally been where the team’s somewhat limited playoff hopes have died in recent years. In 2017-18, the Hurricanes limped into the deadline with a 0-4-1 record. The 2016-17 season was even worse with an extended 1-5-2 slump. The 2015-16 season featured a 1-4-0 lead up to the trade deadline. For whatever reason, the Hurricanes have frozen and faded leading up to recent trade deadlines.
I have written about him multiple times including in yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe. I would not sell off everything not bolted down as the team has done in recent years to collect a bunch of mid-round draft picks, I think Ferland could be the exception simply because of his likely value. As a power forward who can score with a cap-friendly $1.75 million cap hit, he should garner interest and a good return if the team does not instead re-sign him. If the team cannot re-sign him on favorable terms before the trade deadline such that he seems destined to depart at the end of the season and if he can net a first-round draft pick I do that deal.
For me, it is a two-part deal. I trade Ferland and collect the first-round pick. Then I shop the final hours of the trade deadline market to see if I can spend a mid-round draft pick to back fill Ferland’s slot with another rental forward. It pains me to let Ferland go heading into March, but I think a first-round pick is too much to pass up. An important disclaimer is that if the return falls to being a third round or lower pick, then I would be inclined to just ride out the 2018-19 season and risk losing him for nothing.
Not of the rental variety, the trade deadline could be an opportunity to trade a defenseman for a forward. As I have said previously, I do not just lump Brett Pesce in with the other right shot defensemen. Because of his favorable contract and steadiness defensively, I rate him higher and would not trade him unless the return is immense.
Though one or both of Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek could net a modest return from a team that needs a backup goalie. I would not be inclined to trade either as long as the Hurricanes are within range of a playoff spot. The return would be modest and not worth upsetting the apple cart in net.
The Hurricanes as buyers
I would not be surprised to see the Hurricanes use the busy time to make a trade for a player with term on his contract who would be part of the team past the 2018-19 season, but I would not expect the Hurricanes to be players in the bidding wars for high-end rental players who are free agents at the end of the season. As I said above, maybe if the Hurricanes trade Ferland, the team spends modestly to back fill that slot.
As of right now, the bottom playoff team in the Eastern Conference (based on games above .500) is the Columbus Blue Jackets. Those same Blue Jackets have an interesting situation with stars Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin set to become unrestricted free agents in July and not seemingly prepared to re-sign with Columbus. Maybe due to the distraction, the Blue Jackets have struggled a bit of late. How the situation with Bobrovsky and Panarin is resolved could arguably have the greatest trade deadline impact on the Hurricanes playoff chances.
What say you Canes fans?
1) What, if anything, do you expect from the Carolina Hurricanes for the 2019 NHL trade deadline?
2) What will happen with Micheal Ferland? Will the Canes trade him? Re-sign him before the deadline? Or be willing to ride out the rest of the 2018-19 season and risk losing him for nothing in the offseason?
3) If you had to predict one big non-rental type deal for the Hurricanes leading up to the trade deadline, what would it be?