Latest Hurricanes and Wild Speculation – May 23, 2018
Could the Carolina Hurricanes trade Jeff Skinner? Are big moves in store for the Minnesota Wild under new general manager Paul Fenton? Check out the latest in your NHL rumor mill.
WILL THE HURRICANES SHOP SKINNER?
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports of growing media speculation suggesting the Carolina Hurricanes could trade winger Jeff Skinner. He also notes Skinner recently changed agents, hiring Don Meehan of Newport Sports Management. The 26-year-old has a year remaining on his contract and will earn $6 million in actual salary next season. He also carries a no-movement clause and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next July.
Meehan said he’s had no discussions with Hurricanes GM Don Waddell about Skinner and hasn’t been asked by the club if his client would waive his no-movement clause. The two are expected to meet at next week’s NHL Draft combine in Buffalo.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien believes the Hurricanes could regret moving Skinner this summer. For a club that desperately needs scoring, trading away their top sniper makes no sense.
Skinner’s shooting percentage was low last season (8.7), which could affect his trade value. O’Brien cites the low value of winger Jordan Eberle and Reilly Smith when their percentages were also low at the time they were traded. He feels the Hurricanes should wait on trading Skinner. “It’s tough to imagine Carolina enjoying the better end of a Skinner trade, especially in the immediate future,” writes O’Brien.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: During his end-of-season interview, Skinner insisted he wants to stay with the Hurricanes. Unless they intend on staging a roster rebuild, it doesn’t make much sense to move their best scorer, especially as they’re unlikely to get a return of equal or greater value that will provide immediate improvement. As O’Brien pointed out, if they want to boost their offense, dealing from their position of strength (defense) would be the better way to go.
ROSTER “TWEAKS” IN STORE FOR THE WILD?
TWINCITIES.COM: With new Minnesota Wild GM Paul Fenton saying he intends to “tweak” the under-achieving Minnesota Wild roster, Brian Murphy wonders what that might involve. He feels Fenton “should have no emotional attachment to Wild players ripe for the trade market such as Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker or even Jared Spurgeon.”
THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo also noted Fenton’s come in with a mandate to “tweak” the Wild’s roster. The new GM intends to think “outside the box”, looking at small trades and big trades if they make sense for the club. “I want to make hockey trades. I don’t want to make cap trades. I want to make trades that we see a guy fitting with us and maybe be able to do it quickly. But you never know. You just have to let the process play out.”
Possible trade bait could include restricted free agents such as winger Jason Zucker and defenseman Matt Dumba, though Fenton’s comments about building from the blueline suggests he could retain Dumba unless he proves too expensive to retain. Russo also speculates core players such as Nino Niederreiter, Jonas Brodin or Charlie Coyle could become trade candidates, and he expects winger Tyler Ennis could be shopped or bought out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It sounds like the talk of “tweaks” is aimed at lowering expectation of major moves. It doesn’t mean, however, Fenton won’t shake things up if he finds a suitable deal. One or two of those aforementioned players could be dealt, or they could all return as Fenton considers other options. I agree with Russo that Ennis is likely to be dealt or bought out.