This week is definitely peak (Apex reference) season for the Carolina Hurricanes off-season. Prospect camp is chugging forward at the same time that Francis has been knocking out a run of small moves leading up to a somewhat bigger one on Thursday night.
If you just want to browse a list of all articles posted at Canes and Coffee, check here to browse a complete chronological list of article links.
On the prospect front
My ‘what I’m watching’ (part 2 of 2 with a link to part 1) for prospect camp. In total, the two-part series work through all of the Hurricanes prospects in camp this week.
My notes and evaluations from Wednesday’s prospect camp practice.
A great guest set of notes from Craig Johnson for Thursday’s practice.
See what readers think in polls and discussion in a Thursday Coffee Shop post dedicated solely to the prospects and this week’s prospect camp.
On the 2017-18 roster-building front
Yesterday, I took a broad look at the free agent pool that officially becomes available on Saturday and considered it as a plan B for adding a top 6 forward.
Prior to that I looked more specifically at Patrick Marleau.
And by Friday morning, I will have a ‘doing deals’ type of preview and also a special Friday/Saturday Coffee Shop article will have polls and an open forum for discussion of the NHL’s free agent season which starts Saturday.
Hurricanes part ways with Eddie Lack and Ryan Murphy as expected
But getting to the matter at hand, on Thursday night the Carolina Hurricanes announced that the team had traded Eddie Lack, Ryan Murphy and a 2019 seventh-round draft pick for 22-year old defenseman Keegan Kanzig and a 2019 sixth-round draft pick. The Hurricanes also retained half of Lack’s salary ($1.5 million actual salary).
The move knocked out two predictions of mine from awhile back. Back on April 20, shortly after the season ended and before the trade for Scott Darling, I listed an Eddie Lack departure among five off-season predictions.
Only a couple days ago in an article entitled, “Three situations where my thoughts differ from what I am seeing elsewhere”, I predicted an Eddie Lack buy out. Though I was technically wrong in terms of him being bought out, my basic assertion that he did not have any trade value with a $3 million salary more or less remained true. The Hurricanes had to eat half of Lack’s salary, include Ryan Murphy who I think would have had modest (fourth-sixth round draft pick) by himself to move Lack. And financially, the end result was not significantly different from a buy out with the Hurricanes paying $1.5 million of Lack’s remaining salary instead of the $2 million that they would have been on the hook for with a buyout.
As for Ryan Murphy, I assessed him and initially predicted that he would be gone before the start of the 2017-18 season way back on February 27. I reiterated my opinion that he would be traded during the off-season when I wrote his report card article on May 20. The writing on the wall for Murphy became even more obvious when the team acquired another right shot defenseman in Trevor van Riemsdyk.
So in that regard, the departure of both players matched my expectations.
Eddie Lack: After two years struggling to get his feet under him with the Hurricanes, Lack gets a change of scenery and a fresh start. I think this is the best possible thing that could happen for Lack’s career. At this point, I think a rebound is significantly more likely elsewhere without the baggage of his two years with the Hurricanes in tow. He leaves as a bit of a reclamation project trying to consistently find a level of play that he has been unable to muster on a regular basis since leaving Vancouver. The move also makes total sense for the Hurricanes. Lack was #3 on the depth chart and paying a #3 any more than an AHL salary does not make sense especially for a team like the Hurricanes with an internal budget.
Ryan Murphy: Like Lack, I think the move is the best thing possible for Ryan Murphy. In the past couple years, he had been past on the Hurricanes’ blue line depth chart by Noah Hanifin, Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce and was likely to be passed by Haydn Fleury this fall. Despite multiple tries and a decent amount of NHL experience, Murphy has not been able to stick even in a #5/#6 depth role. Maybe more significantly, I think Murphy just needs a complete reset in terms of how he plays the game. In trying address (and making some progress) some defensive weaknesses in his game, Murphy in my opinion shifted way too far toward buttoning down his game with the puck on his stick and playing not to make mistakes or turnovers. In the process, he gave up the single greatest strength in his game (skating and carrying the puck) and in the process the upside that made him a first-round draft pick. I think the starting point for rebound by Murphy starts with him getting back to at least trying to play like a skating and attacking offensive defenseman.
Keegan Kanzig: Kanzig is a hulking defenseman who is literally capable of making Julien Gauthier look small. Kanzig’s tale of the tape comes in at 6 feet 7 inches tall and 247 pounds. The 22-year old was a third-round draft pick in 2013 and just completed his first professional season splitting time between the AHL and ECHL. He is not surprisingly a physical, stay-home defenseman who can take care of the rough stuff when necessary.
I have a few queries out to try to gauge what Kanzig’s ceiling might be and will provide an update either here or elsewhere when I get responses, but at a basic level, he fits into the prospect pool as a player with a couple more years on his entry-level deal.
My thoughts on the trade
To be clear, I am not privy to what other options (other than the buy out route) there might have been for Lack and Murphy, but I am not a big fan of the trade. For me, the trade is mostly the equivalent of trading Ryan Murphy to save $500,000 in salary. Past that, the Hurricanes received very little in a negligible draft pick upgrade from the seventh round to the sixth round and also what I believe to be a lower-end prospect and AHL help.
Part of me thinks Murphy should have garnered just a bit more and would preferred to just buy Lack out and either trade Murphy straight up for futures or possibly keep him a bit longer to try to showcase him a bit first. But my hunch is that the reality is that Murphy, like Lack, just really did not have much trade value at this point, and Francis made the decision to clean up the slate a bit and move forward on two players who were not part of the plan.
On Eddie Lack as a person
I said on Twitter after the deal was announced that Eddie Lack might have the greatest ratio of fan love relative to ice time and accomplishments in Hurricanes’ history. No doubt, players like Ron Francis, Rod Brind’Amour and many more rate higher on a Hurricanes’ favorite list. But for being a back up goalie for just two years and never really finding a higher-gear in terms of winning, Eddie Lack garnered much more than his fair share of fan attention. I think that is a huge testament to who Lack is as a person. He is a good person and an incredibly likable player and one who is easy to cheer for in his next endeavor despite his struggles in Raleigh.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Are you surprised to see either Eddie Lack or Ryan Murphy traded?
2) What are your thoughts on value of the trade? Do you prefer this deal to simply buying Lack out (which would have cost $500,000 more) and either trading or just temporarily keeping Murphy?
Well, it was really a NO-BRAINER…to move them. Didn’t cost anything. Didn’t really get much. Slots, contracts were gained…Now we can reload. Hope this will be followed by a more significant move… I can’t let myself get my hopes up…we need a BIG NAME, BUT…I’m expecting less, and even that may be a disappointment. I’m hoping I’m wrong…
I’m sorry to see Eddie go, but the qualities that made the the better choice as back up made him the better trade chip. Besides, we are now $5.9mil below the cap floor, with only 18 players signed. Plus by not buying Eddie out, he(and Cam Ward) will be off the books next year, when we might need the space to sign our RFAs. And good luck to Murph.
1) Not surprised at all.
2) OK as a deal–I am not a fan of buyout since it is simply spending money. Though in this case it amounts to much the same. Kanzig appears to be depth for the AHL only. So the retained salary is pretty much equivalent to a slightly more expensive buyout for one year.
The deal will look like a steal for Calgary pretty quickly. I think that Lack will revert to his Vancouver standards–I still believe most of his problem in Raleigh was Marcoux. With a new home and marriage, I think he will find his “lost” ability and may even create a goalie controversy for the Flames. There is the off chance that his struggles have caused permanent damage to his confidence, that appears to be true with Khudobin. But I think Lack’s temperament will allow him to succeed in Calgary.
You’ve said what I would have said about Lack. No need for me to repeat it elsewhere. Re: Murphy, he just didn’t work out for whatever reason. Wish him and Lack the best and hope they do well in Calgary. This deal was the best thing that could happen to both at this point.
Not surprised at all and no issue with the trade value. Sometimes you just gotta move on. However, I still believe we traded the wrong backup even if that wasn’t institutionally possible.
I guess we won’t be seeing any more Lacko Taco commercials: I’m going to miss Eddie. He’s got some good hockey left in him. Not so sure the same is true for Murphy but I wish him well.
I´m glad RF is helping to make Calgary a playoff team. They are the closest to Carolina, in alphabetical order.
In all seriousness, I don´t see this as a good deal at all. At least we should have traded for a reclamation player with skills that fit our need (rhd or a right winger). A left-handed d man is not what we need at all, even if he surprises (which I hope he will).
If we do something smart with the additional cap flexibility I can re-evaluate it, but if this is simply dumping players that our ex goalie coach destroyed and Bill Peters doesn´t like, I think the deal does a disservice to Eddie and I ohpe he will find his confidence, his winning ways and good tacos in Calgary.
Also, as has been noted before, RF is doing the exact same thing all over again )signing a new goalie, Darling, with limited starts but good stats to a long-term deal sight unseen), as he is trading away his previous mistake.
I thin the move I am most excited about this summer was signing a new goalie coach. I hope that is going to be the difference maker.
I agree with ctcaniac and dogbutler. The departures open up slots in the organization. Any cost savings goes can go towards either a bigger fish or alternate depth (3rd goalie), so whether or not this move is a prelude to another will be seen.
The prospect in return is worth a shot in Charlotte camp, and wow is he a big boy!
It is not really a surprise. We basically got 500K back in salary cap and opened up a contract slot. Murphy was getting a little better at the end of the year but he routinely got beat and was not much of a defenseman. Very unfortunate, another 1st round pick goes bust. I was against buying out Lack. At least we got a little back. I agree that Marcoux did not help any. I am glad Marcoux is gone. For 500K I would have put Lack in the AHL, let him improve and be a trade chip later. I really think we could have done better. I guess RF just wanted to give the young guys (new goalies) time in the AHL. This trade does not matter much in the big picture.
Who knows, the prospect D could work out. We have seen some 3rd/4th round Ds really work out in our system.
1, Pleasantly surprised. They needed to go. Both were more in the way than useful. Surprise was primarily that they went in the same deal. Both were highly depreciated assets, that had been on the trade market a long time, and hadn’t attracted any interest. Timing was good allowing for more signing day certainty and cash.
2. Since they weren’t attracting any bites RF simply cut bait. Keegan does make us bigger, RFs long stated goal. His Zdano Chara-like size, makes you hope to see Chara-like development; i.e. a late bloomer whose skills take a while to catch up his growth.
I am not surprised at either’s departure – what I had hoped for Lack (a demotion to Charlotte to get his groove back and be a viable third or trade chip) was not really what I thought was going to happen in the “hockey is a business” mindset. I like icecobra’s that the extra cost of carrying Lack at the AHL level would be like an “investment” geared towards getting a better return for him later in the season.
I never thought we would get rid of Ward – he is a Canes lifer, and the powers that be in hockey respect that.
In the end this was a “body dump” – I think the trade value of either was negligible and RF got what he could. If I remember right, a couple of years ago Calgary offered to take Ward from us – if we gave them our first round pick! They play hardball up there.
I hope Lack finds success. This is a contract year for him. – if he can get it going he could well challenge for the starter’s role and rebuild his reputation, salvaging his career (which the Canes ran off the rails for him – I really think Lack’s failure as a Cane is a failure of the organization).
I think Murphy is done – Calgary’s blue line has been upgraded and he may well slip to the AHL, or get packaged for another trade. He would do well in Europe, I think, and rediscover his strength as an offensive D-man there.
I don’t think Kanzig has much upside – although it will be cool to see someone his size in a Canes uniform at training camp, however brief his time here may be.
IMO I will take eating salary and giving away Murphy any day (never have been a Murphy fan, wasting a first round pick to do a favor for Skinner was a bad idea). Buyout would have been for two years. I wish them the best. I was and still am a Lack fan, IMO our goalie coaches messed up a good player. Hope he gets his groove back.
This is a trade that had to get done…or more appropriately a transaction that had to get done. Personally, I prefer eating 1/2 of Eddie’s salary this year as opposed to having whatever the buyout cost would have been over 2 years. It’s a cleaner transaction in my mind.
Either of the goalies leaving would have been fine with me. Neither was very good. The reasons why are multiple, but it really doesn’t matter. Mediocre to poor is mediocre to poor. One of them had to go.
Sending Eddie down sounded like a fine idea, except he would have had to clear waivers. And while we didn’t get much for him we did get something. Losing him to waivers would have meant losing him for nothing. GMs get fired for those types of decisions.
Murphy was done here…and probably done in the league. His play regressed last year, even at the AHL level. In the end this was a money saving deal pure and simple. The good news is that it likely frees up some cap money for a free agent acquisition or two.
I was okay with Lack going to the AHL with the possibility of somebody taking him on waivers. Waivers would mean we loose the entire salary. If he got though, we had a good backup who could improve his game and be a trade chip later. It does not matter now but as you said getting something in return is a good thing.
Marcoux was horrible and contributed to Lacks issues. I hope he does better in new surroundings.
BREAKING NEWS!! Murphy placed on waivers by CGY for the purposes of being bought out!!!
I thought I’d seen it all. Hope Murphy didn’t waste any money for airline tickets to Calgary. He’s now free agent. Will be interesting to see if anyone signs him.
Wow, that was quick. They obviously wanted Lack. Murphy may be done.
This makes the trade dyanmics even more interesting.
Canes: We will trade you Lack for an obscure prospect of your choice.
Flames: We want you to retain half of Lack’s salary.
Canes: Deal, provided you also take Murphy so we don’t have to buy him out ourselves.
Flames: Agreed. And let’s exchange a couple of late round draft choices in the distant future just to confuse everybody.
Or something like that…
I expect Murphy will sign a 2-way contract with some team, or an AHL contract later in the summer, or end up in Europe.
I guess that shows with a high degree of certainty what Murphy’s trade value was on a one-way contract. Calgary was seemingly forced to take him to buy him out as an offset to part of what the Hurricanes kept from Lack’s salary.
I still figured Murphy as having the value of a fifth or maybe even fourth-round draft pick as a reclamation project, but obviously that was not the case.
raleighcj may be onto something. Through the deal RF used none of the limited buyout options he would have going forward. Could there be plan for a possible FA signing to eventually become a buy out victim?