With the massive turnover last summer and pretty significant turnover again this summer including a number of AHL departures, the list of recent Carolina Hurricanes alumni still playing in the NHL or AHL is a sizable one. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a quick check in on the NHL part of that group.
The summer of 2019
Justin Faulk — St. Louis Blues
After being the longest-tenured Hurricanes player, Faulk was traded to St. Louis this summer where he quickly extended his contract at $6.5 million per year for 7 years. Faulk is working to settle into a top 4 role for the Blues and has 0 goals and 1 assist in 5 games so far this season.
Micheal Ferland — Vancouver Canucks
After possibly passing on a contract for more than that before the trade deadline, Micheal Ferland signed with the Canucks for 4 years at $3.5 million per year. In the early going with his new team, Ferland has no goals and a lone assist in five games.
Curtis McElhinney – Tampa Bay Lightning
After playing an integral role helping hold things together early in the 2018-19 season when the team was struggling, Curtis McElhinney opted for free agency and signed a two-year deal with Tampa Bay over the summer. In the early going this season, McElhinney is 0-1-1 with a 3.51 goals against average and .909 save percentage.
Calvin de Haan — Chicago Blackhawks
Somewhat like McElhinney, Calvin de Haan played a role in stabilizing the Hurricanes on the defensive side of the puck. As such, de Haan definitely deserves his share of the credit for the Hurricanes return to the playoffs last season. But seemingly due to the risk of a second consecutive summer with shoulder surgery, the Hurricanes opted to trade de Haan despite not getting a significant return. He missed the start of the season but is now a couple games deep acclimating to his new team.
Greg McKegg – New York Rangers
With a strong 2018-19 season in a depth role for the Hurricanes, Greg McKegg earned a one-way deal for a similar role with the Rangers. He did not score in his lone game thus far with the Rangers.
Scott Darling — Unsigned
Instead of buying out Scott Darling, the Hurricanes managed to make a sideways deal financially for James Reimer. Thus far Reimer has worked out well as a backup. Darling remains unsigned so far.
Adam Fox — New York Rangers
After being a nice futures addition to the trade that brought Hamilton and Ferland to the Hurricanes, Adam Fox refused to sign with the Canes which ultimately led to his trade to the Rangers. He did stick at the NHL level but has yet to score in three games.
Since the summer of 2018
Victor Rask — Minnesota Wild
The Rask trade for Nino Niederreiter has mostly proven to be a heist so far with Niederreiter playing a key role in the Hurricanes 2018-19 playoff push. Meanwhile, Rask has yet to really find a rebound with the change of scenery. He had only 3 points in 23 games with the Wild in 2018-19. He does have a goal and an assist in only 3 games in 2019-20, so just maybe a rebound is on the way.
Jeff Skinner — Buffalo Sabres
After being traded last summer, Skinner posted 40 goals and 63 points in his first season with the Sabres and was rewarded with exactly the kind of contract that the Canes opted out of at eight years for $9 million per year. The Sabres are the top team in the Eastern Conference right now and Skinner has four goals and two assists in seven games.
Elias Lindholm — Calgary Flames
After being dealt with Noah Hanifin last summer for Dougie Hamilton and Micheal Ferland, Lindholm was quickly extended by the Flames and had a strong 2018-19 campaign playing on the team’s top line. In 2018-19, Lindholm had 27 goals and 51 assists in 81 games for nearly a point per game pace and a significant jump from what he had registered as a Hurricanes player. He is off to a decent start with 4 goals and 1 assist in 7 games in 2019-20.
Noah Hanifin — Calgary Flames
Like Lindholm, Noah Hanifin was acquired via trade and immediately extended. My check ins on Hanifin in 2018-19 suggested that he was still mostly what he was with the Canes which is a capable depth defenseman with upside but really maybe only a #4/#5 defenseman. He had 33 points and was a plus 18 in 2018-19. In 2019-20 so far Hanifin is playing in a top 4 role and has 2 goals and 0 assists in 7 games.
Derek Ryan — Calgary Flames
Ryan is the third of three former Canes to follow former Canes bench boss Bill Peters to Calgary. In 2018-19, Ryan posted a depth scoring-ish 38 points exactly matching what he had with the Hurricanes in the previous year. In 2019-20, Ryan has no goals and 2 assists in 7 games so far.
Cam Ward — Retired
Ward left as a free agent to play in Chicago and was largely swept up in a tough season for the Blackhawks. He has since retired and can again be seen around Raleigh though not in hockey gear.
Marcus Kruger — Switzerland
After a tough lone season with the Hurricanes that ultimately saw him demoted to the AHL, Don Waddell managed to trade him for Jordan Martinook. Kruger played in Chicago last season but then headed for Switzerland for the 2019-20 season.
Eric Staal — Minnesota Wild
After a decade as a Hurricanes leader, Eric Staal was a trade deadline departure during the rebuilding years. After a short mostly unsuccessful stint down the stretch and in the playoffs with the Rangers, Staal signed a free agent deal with the Wild that next summer. He then rebounded nicely with the change of scenery. His scoring dipped a bit to 52 points in 2018-19, but in total the change of scenery did well for him.
Joakim Nordstrom — Boston Bruins
After departing the Hurricanes as a free agent, Nordstrom has settled into a similar depth role with the Bruins. He had a modest 7 goals and 6 assists in 2018-19 but filled a role as a competent depth forward and quality penalty killer.
Riley Nash — Columbus Blue Jackets
After filling a similar role with the Hurricanes, Riley Nash has established himself as a useful depth player in that role first with the Bruins and now with the Blue Jackets. He had 41 points with the Bruins in 2017-18 but dipped to only 12 with the Blue Jackets in 2018-19. Thus far, he has 0 goals and 3 assists in 6 games with the Blue Jackets in 2019-20.
What say Canes fans?
1) Are you surprised to see how big the list of recent departures is?
2) From a sentimental standpoint, if you could get only one player back, who would it be? From a building a better hockey team standpoint, who would you want back?
3) Did I miss anyone who departed recently?