After a quick start that saw Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis deal Ron Hainsey to Pittsburgh last week, the Hurricanes’ number came up again today.
The team just announced that it had traded Viktor Stalberg to the Ottawa Senators for a third round selection in the 2017 NHL draft.
The return is a good one. Part 1 of my NHL trade deadline preview had a baseline value for Viktor Stalberg pegged at a fourth round pick with some potential upside. So Francis hit the upside target getting a third round pick. In addition, with Ottawa being in the middle of the playoff heap, Ottawa’s pick has the potential to be a bit higher than other teams’ picks.
I actually have some mixed feelings about this deal. Of all of the Hurricanes depth players with a high potential to be traded at the deadline, Stalberg would rank first in terms of a player that I would be happy to have back for the 2017-18 season. Stalberg’s ceiling is that of a fourth-liner with some ability to fill in on a higher line. As such, he is a depth player, but he is an incredibly good depth player. He played a key role on the Hurricanes’ league-leading penalty kill. He also brought physicality in the form of a player who is sound defensively and a very good skater. As such, I think Stalberg is the kind of player who is not just a borderline depth player but rather 1 that fits very well in any team’s roster. And that is why he garnered a third round draft pick.
Important to note is that Stalberg being traded away does not completely eliminate the possibility of a return for the 2017-18 season. Stalberg is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent only July 1. Just like the other 30 NHL teams, the Hurricanes could try to lure him back to Raleigh for next season.
Left from the Hurricanes’ unrestricted free agent list are Jay McClement, Derek Ryan and Matt Tennyson. My wild guess is that Jay McClement is the next to go if someone is in the market for a veteran fourth-line center who can kill penalties.