Latest on the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets – May 15, 2018
Big moves could be coming for the Carolina Hurricanes plus a look at how the Columbus Blue Jackets could address their depth at center in your NHL rumor mill.
BIG CHANGES COMING FOR HURRICANES?
FRS NETWORK HOCKEY: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Bob McKenzie telling Toronto’s TSN 1050 that he believes everyone on the current Carolina Hurricanes roster, except Sebastian Aho, could be available this summer. He feels winger Jeff Skinner and defenseman Justin Faulk are “very much in play.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the recent management and coaching changes, a roster shakeup seems inevitable for the Hurricanes. While they may be willing to listen to offers for all but Aho, it doesn’t mean they’re willing to move most of those players.
Skinner and Faulk have frequently surfaced in recent trade chatter and seem the most likely to be dealt. As per Cap Friendly, Skinner has a year remaining on his contract ($5.275-million annual average value) with a full no-movement clause, but perhaps he’s willing to waive it to go to a contender. Faulk, meanwhile, has two years left on his contract ($4.833-million AAV) but lacks no-trade protection, giving the Hurricanes more trade options. Both will attract plenty of interest in this summer’s trade market.
Jordan Staal’s hefty contract ($6 million per season through 2022-23) makes him very difficult to trade unless the Canes agree to absorb a chunk of his cap hit. Justin Williams has a year left on his contract ($4.5 million) and could be enticing to a playoff contender.Victor Rask slumped big time this season and the Canes might be keen to shed his $4-million cap hit.
I don’t see them moving youngsters such as Noah Hanifin, Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, Teuvo Teravainen and Elias Lindholm. Sure, they could listen to offers but I think they’d prefer to retain those guys.
LATEST ON THE BLUE JACKETS
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Steve Gorten believes the Blue Jackets are unlikely to pursue a big-name center via trade or free agency this summer. The need to re-sign winger Artemi Panarin and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to expensive long-term extensions means acquiring a center “isn’t feasible unless they’re willing and able to put together a lucrative trade offer.”
He thinks their best bet is to hope Alexander Wennberg, Brandon Dubinsky and Lukas Sedlak “bounce back from sub-par seasons and a prospect such as Alexandre Texier or Jonathan Davidsson emerges in training camp, as Pierre-Luc Dubois did in September.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $61 million invested in 19 players, the Blue Jackets at first glance have sufficient room to re-sign restricted free agents such as Boone Jenner, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Ryan Murray and still have enough space to pursue an upgrade at center via free agency or a trade.
But as Gorten observes, doing so could hamper efforts to re-sign Panarin and Bobrovsky, who are eligible next July to become unrestricted free agents, as well as defenseman Zach Werenski, who will become a restricted free agent. Unless management finds a way to get creative via the trade market, they’ll have to stick with their current centers for another season.