NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2023
Check out the latest on the Hurricanes and Oilers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
THE LATEST ON THE HURRICANES
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Cory Lavalette was asked about Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce. The question was whether they could be moved for assets while clearing salary-cap space or as part of a move or multiple moves to bolster the Hurricane’s scoring.
Lavalette suggests both scenarios are possibilities. He believes the Hurricanes don’t need to panic about this as they’re under the salary cap and can afford to wait for the right offer. They can afford to move Skjei and/or Pesce given their solid blueline depth for the coming season.
If Pesce is the most likely trade candidate as rumored, Lavalette believes Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell would expect at least a first-round pick in return. They could use that pick as bait leading up to the trade deadline to fill any holes in the roster.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lavalette doesn’t think that the Hurricanes need to add a scorer. He believes Jesperi Kotkaniemi will eclipse 20 goals and 55 points this season based on his production following his slow start to last season. He also noted that the Hurricanes offense was nearly identical to that of the Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights last season.
Nevertheless, Lavalette conceded that they have the ability to add to their offense if the need arises once they declutter their defense. In other words, Pesce and/or Skjei could be used as trade bait to land a scorer.
I believe they could use more scoring punch. With all due respect to Lavalette, it was painfully apparent in the Eastern Conference Final that a lack of offense was a key reason why they were swept by the underdog Florida Panthers.
The Hurricanes dominated the play throughout that series. Yes, the Panthers got strong goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky and timely scoring led by Matthew Tkachuk. However, I think the Canes could’ve prevailed had they had a healthy Andrei Svechnikov and Max Pacioretty in the lineup. Svechnikov will be back but they could look at landing a scorer by the trade deadline.
Teravainen’s production suffered last season in part due to injuries and the loss of a family member. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and surfaced in trade rumors earlier this offseason.
Drury, 23, finds himself in a logjam of centers that are much more valuable to the Hurricanes’ success. A restricted free agent next summer coming off his entry-level contract, he could become a possible rental player leading up to this season’s trade deadline.
Svechnikov is coming off a season-ending knee injury. If he takes longer to regain his form, the Hurricanes could be forced into the trade market to find a scorer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE Svechnikov obviously isn’t going anywhere given his value to the Hurricanes. It could take him some time to get back into the scoring groove again but he faces no danger of getting traded. Nevertheless, Baucom is correct in his assessment that how quickly Svechnikov’s returns to form could create an urgency to bolster their offensive attack.
Teravainen could have a bounce-back performance. If he does, I expect the Hurricanes will hang onto him for the playoffs and worry about his contract after this season. Drury, on the other hand, could become expendable if he fails to improve this season.
COULD THE OILERS TRADE BROBERG?
Mitchell observed that the Oilers are in “win-now” mode. While Broberg has tremendous potential, they need their entire roster to play at a championship level. His size and speed could make him an enticing trade target for clubs more focused on the future.
If the Oilers did move Broberg, Mitchell speculated that they could seek a right-handed, big-minute defenseman to skate on the top pairing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The pressure will be on the Oilers this season to finally get over the championship hump. They could move Broberg before the trade deadline for a rental asset if they feel the player they’re receiving can help them win that elusive Stanley Cup.
Of course, that could change if Broberg makes significant strides in his performance this season. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he gets traded at some point this season for the type of defenseman envisioned by Mitchell.