Before the AHL season started, the Charlotte Checkers signed Manny Malhotra to a 25-game tryout contract. The believe was that the Carolina Hurricanes were interested in the former Canuck and that they could keep an eye on him with the Checkers.
Even though Malhotra has only played six games with the Checkers, it’s time for the Hurricanes to sign him to an NHL contract.
The Canes have dealt with injuries to Tuomo Ruutu, Elias Lindholm, Jeff Skinner and Patrick Dwyer and it’s only been ten games into the season. The injuries have forced the team to play 14 different forwards so far this season.
While missing two forwards in last night’s game, the Hurricanes were forced to play Kevin Westgarth on a line with Lindholm. As an 18-year-old player, the Canes should not be playing an enforcer with a young player that has the potential of being a first-line player.
Signing Malhota would give the Hurricanes an option for the fourth line that brings more skill and defensive responsibility. It’s also possible that Malhotra could play on the third line and would be a good replacement while Dwyer is out of the lineup.
The 33-year-old also has a ton of experience in the NHL. He’s been to the Stanley Cup Finals and has been in the league since the 2000-01 season. Considering how young the Canes’ offense is, that kind of experience could come in extremely helpful as the season moves along and the team attempts a playoff push.
Of course, Malhotra is still dealing with an eye injury he suffered during the 2010-11 season. Last year, the Canucks placed Malhotra on IR for his own safety after playing only nine games.
I would only want the Hurricanes to sign Malhotra if they feel his safety and health is not in danger. There is no reason to put his future life in jeopardy for added help on the roster.
The latest news on Malhotra came about two weeks ago from Elliotte Friedman that the Hurricanes and the player had a discussion and other teams were going to start scouting Malhotra.
If Malhotra’s healthy enough, the Canes should sign him to create more depth to deal with the injuries they have suffered early in the season and bring experience to the forward lines.