With the oddly-timed draft and off-season only a few weeks ago, the NHL rumor mill is starting to churn out a good new of things to consider (or just as often discard quickly). Unlike in years past, the Hurricanes seem to get more than their fair share of turns these days. That change is driven in part by the team being more active since Tom Dundon took ownership of the team. The other factor is that in recent years the Hurricanes have been deep on the blue line which seemingly has the team linked to every other team that desperately needs help on defense.

In my article on August 24, I dubbed Brett Pesce ‘the key to the blue line‘, and I am already on record as not being eager to include Brett Pesce in any deal. It is not that he is untouchable, but I just think a legitimate top 2/top 4 defenseman in his prime and on a cap-friendly contract is more valuable than anything that could be added by trading sideways for a forward.

But Today’s Daily Cup of Joe focuses on a couple possible options to try to upgrade in net who have been or could be linked to the Hurricanes in the future and cheats a bit by leveraging Twitter comments to share my thoughts.


Frederik Andersen from the Toronto Maple Leafs

Recently, Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen made an early appearance in the trade rumor mill and the Carolina Hurricanes were even named as a team that could have interest.

I actually think that Andersen could be an interesting addition once you move past the unreasonable value for what some think he is worth in trade value. Andersen is 30 years and likely to be gunning for his last big contract when he becomes an unrestricted free agent after the 2020-21 season. Just in general I am not a big fan of taking on the last max contract for goalies who just crossed over the 30-year old mark. So I would not be a big fan of trading a bunch for Andersen and then inking him to a long, pricey extension upon arrival. Further, any trade that includes a top 4 defenseman like Pesce or Hamilton is a non-starter for a player scheduled to become a free agent in one year. So the contract and trade situation for Andersen are not overly favorable.

But in the same vein as Fleury below, I think Andersen is interesting as long as the trade cost is minimal. In a scenario where Toronto General Manager Kyle Dubas wants to move on, adds another goalie and then needs to trade Andersen just to dump salary, I would at least consider the option.

I like three things about Andersen if he comes for a modest trade cost. First, with only one year remaining on his contract, the risk is tiny. Very often even good goalies just struggle upon arrival. If that happens with Andersen, the Canes would just move on quickly next summer. But if he clicks, the Hurricanes would be in good position to re-sign him. Sure there is a risk that he leaves, but I think the risk of committing to five years sight unseen for a 30-year old netminder is a bigger risk. Second, I think there is a dice roll element with goalies such that sometimes things just work. Third and maybe most importantly, I think the potential is there that a change of scenery sees him find a significantly higher gear. Being relieved of the pressure of Toronto in itself could be a sizable difference-maker. And even more intriguing to me is the possibility that Andersen is being dragged down by the Maple Leafs roster that has been really light on legitimate top 4 defensemen and totes a lineup of forwards whose strength is scoring goals not strong two-way play. Is it possible that Andersen looks significantly better playing behind the Hurricanes blue line which is better and deeper? It is at least a possibility and an intriguing one at that.


Marc-Andre Fleury from the Vegas Golden Knights

Though I am not sure if an official announcement has come yet, the Golden Knights seem ready to ink Robin Lehner to a long-term deal for something in the neighborhood of $5 million per year. With Marc-Andre Fleury already signed for the next two years at $7 million per year, the team will have $12 million committed to the goalie situation. One would figure that making a long-term commitment to Lehner who is six years younger also means that Fleury hits the trade block.

I said the following on Twitter:

Fleury is coming off a ‘meh’ 2019-20 season and is 35 years old, so there is a legitimate debate to be had about whether he is even an upgrade for sure. But as I noted in the Twitter posts, the two-year term minimizes risk, and I do think there is an element of rolling the dice a bit with goalies hoping to find a winner.

I put Fleury a bit in the same category as Anderesen in that I would not win even a modest bidding war to win his services, but if he becomes available for virtually nothing as a salary cap dump and the Hurricanes can send a little bit of salary back the other way, he is an interesting short-term play. The Hurricanes have some cap space for 2020-21, but the $7 million owed to Fleury for 2021-22 would be tougher to take with new contracts for Andrei Svechnikov and Dougie Hamilton due then.


Patience is in order

I am on record as saying that Mrazek and Reimer are good enough especially with Alex Nedeljkovic also in the mix as a young wild card. So the Hurricanes do not have to make a move in net to be a good hockey team for the 2020-21 season.

Further, if the Hurricanes do want to try to upgrade in net, there are enough options available this summer that I might just make this into a couple-day series. With that being the case, opportunistic and patient is probably a better way to go that assertive and in a hurry.

While I would consider goalie options, I would not budget much in trade assets and would not be eager to sign an older goalie to a max deal. With the flat salary cap and a few unrestricted free agent goalies, the best play might be to be opportunistic and buy late and low like the Hurricanes did with Petr Mrazek a few years back.


What say you Canes fans?


1) What do you think of Frederik Andersen if he becomes available for a modest trade price? Do you also find intriguing the possibility that he has been weighed down by Toronto pressure and a weak defense in front of him?


2) If Waddell can make the salary cap math work, would you take a shot on two years of Marc-Andre Fleury post 35 years old? Or is his time up?

Go Canes!

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