Jan 23, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Manny Malhotra (22) during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Hurricanes beat the Sabres 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Hurricanes: Is Manny Malhotra The Answer For Third-Line Center?


With the Olympic roster freeze about to start and the trade deadline less than a month away, most thought the Carolina Hurricanes would attempt a move for a third-line center, but Chip Alexander tweeted something today that may change all of that.

https://twitter.com/ice_chip/status/431815030602870785

It looks like the Hurricanes will roll with Manny Malhotra as the third-line center for the time being, instead of trading assets in an attempt to improve the position.

This doesn’t mean GM Jim Rutherford won’t make a move for a center after the Olympic break, but there will only be five games before the trade deadline, so that decision will have to be made rather quickly.

My question is will Malhotra be a reliable option on the third line?

He’s looked fine so far, but he also hasn’t played anywhere close to a full season since the 2011-12 season. With more games, more minutes and more responsibility, will the former Vancouver Canuck be able to keep up his level of play?

Malhotra will always be great in the faceoffs, will always be great in his own end and always great on the penalty kill, but supplying the offense the Canes sorely need in the bottom six, especially from the third-line center is not likely.

It’s probable that Malhotra will be better than Riley Nash, who is a better fourth-line center, or Elias Lindholm, who isn’t ready for that responsibility quite yet, but the 33-year-old won’t be a better option than Mikael Backlund, Steve Ott, David Legwand or Marcel Goc, which are all rumored to be on the trading block or the Hurricanes have shown interest in this season.

Manny Malhotra may be the best option for the third line out of the current roster, but that doesn’t mean that the Rutherford and the Hurricanes should sit back instead of looking for a better player to fill the spot.

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