Barely more than a weekend away from Monday’s 2020 NHL trade deadline, today’s Daily Cup of Joe checks in on the market and possibilities from a Hurricanes standpoint.
Blue line frenzy
The market for top 4-(ish) defensemen that I have as the Canes priority has been both a busy and pricey one.
Marco Scandella who I would consider more to be depth defensemen rather than true top 4 yielded 2nd and 4th round picks.
Andy Greene who is a great veteran but also more of a depth option in my opinion at this stage of his career collected and 2nd round pick and a prospect.
Dylan Dimelo netted a third round pick.
Higher-end options netted even more.
Brenden Dillon garnered a 2nd and a 3rd round pick.
Alec Martinez netted two 2nd round picks.
Just like that, the list of available defensemen is shorter by five already. I liked Martinez as a capable veteran to possibly slot next to Brett Pesce for the remainder of the 2019-20 season but also importantly for the 2020-21 season too. But as I said on Twitter, I am completely fine with the Hurricanes passing at these prices and shopping what is left later or even just skipping it altogether. The type of players being moved so far are capable players but not so much huge difference-makers that I would dig deep to land.
With Martinez and Dillon off the table, two of the four players that I named as targets are still out there. I had Jonas Brodin as the best option who might be available and also consider him a player that I would pay a reasonable premium to nab because of the term of his contract through the 2020-21 season. Whether he is even available with term on his contract and Minnesota still in the playoff hunt is a question mark, but I would at least put in a call.
The other option is Sami Vatanen who is a rental with a contract that expires at the end of the season. I would not bid him up to the levels of the other players, but with the Devils being a definite seller, just maybe they do not have any great options when the deadline approaches and they settle for a mid-round pick.
The case for doing something
Some are saying that the Hurricanes are likely a year or two away from pushing for the Cup and therefore should just roll with the current group versus spending futures to bolster the lineup. While I agree that the Hurricanes are still a team that is rising and could have better chances down the road, I actually disagree with the general premise that tries to handicap which teams have a chance and which do not. Low seeds can and do regularly advance deep into the playoffs. The wild cards won all four first-round series last year, and the Hurricanes pushed all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals before hitting a wall. So once in the playoffs, I think many people underestimate the chance of winning the Cup. Because of that, I would be inclined to use the remaining cap space and getting the best money can buy for only a mid-round draft pick or two.
Strategy from here
With so many teams up against the salary cap ceiling these days, the market can go quickly from the seller’s market that it has been to a buyer’s market late when the big bidders run out of cap space and suddenly supply of players outstrips remaining demand.
I would push for Brodin if he is in fact available. I would pay a reasonable amount (maybe slightly less than other mid-tier defensemen traded so far) for Sami Vatanen. And otherwise, I would opportunistically shop for the best I can get for a third to fifth round pick.
But if the prices stay similar or even higher for someone like Brodin, I would be okay with the team passing.
What say you Canes fans?
1) What are your thoughts on the trades thus far? Which, if any, of the deals would you steal given the chance?
2) Given what has happened so far, what do you think the Canes should do before Monday’s trade deadline?