The Hurricanes look ahead following their trade deadline moves, while Scott Hartnell & Fedor Tyutin face uncertain futures in Columbus.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: In the wake of the Carolina Hurricanes recent trades of Eric Staal, Kris Versteeg and John-Michael Liles, Chip Alexander and Luke DeCock recently reported the Carolina Hurricanes have “turned the page” and focused on their long-term future. The recent moves netted the Hurricanes five draft picks and three prospects. Alexander notes GM Ron Francis wasn’t asked about his plans for pending UFA goalie Cam Ward, whose $6.3 million cap hit was likely too difficult to move.
DeCock also points out the Hurricanes have only 13 players under contract for 2016-17. With wealth in draft picks and cap space this summer, he anticipates the conditions are right for Francis to make a move if the right player becomes available.
Both report note the Hurricanes now have a total of 21 picks in the next two drafts:
2016 (11): 2 first, 2 second, 3 third, 1 fourth, 2 fifth, 1 sixth.
2017 (10): 1 first, 2 second, 3 third, 1 fourth, 1 fifth, 1 sixth, 1 seventh.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis did well getting the returns he did for Staal, Versteeg and Liles. With less than $39 million invested in 13 players, he’s going to be busy replenishing his roster. While I doubt he’ll spend to the cap ceiling, he will have the space to make a competitive bid or two via free agency. If the cap fails to significantly increase next season or actually declines, Francis could target clubs in need of shedding salary to become cap compliant for 2016-17. That’s where the depth in draft picks – particularly in the first, second and third rounds this year and second and third rounds next year – will be crucial.
We’ll get a clearer picture by mid-June, when the playoffs have ended and we get a better idea of which teams will become sellers and how much quality talent remains available in this summer’s free-agent market. I anticipate he’ll pursue a goaltender and scoring depth at forward.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline recently reported on the uncertain future left wing Scott Hartnell and defenseman Fedor Tyutin face with the Blue Jackets. it was rumored both players were available leading up to the Feb. 29 trade deadline, though neither was moved. Their respective contracts, which contained no-movement clause, likely proved too difficult to move. Portzline speculates they could be moved this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It won’t be easy to move Hartnell ($4.75 milllion cap hit) or Tyutin($4.5 million cap hit) this summer, but not impossible. There will be several clubs with lots of cap space willing to pick up one or the other, provided those players waive their respective movement clauses. However, clubs interested in Hartnell or Tyutin could put the squeeze on Jackets management by asking for a young player, draft pick or prospect be included in the return. They could also be asked to take back a salaried player, perhaps one with a year or two left on their contracts at a lesser cap hit than Hartnell or Tyutin.