The Stanley Cup Final is underway, but the Carolina Hurricanes’ offseason has been well under way for a while now. Jim Rutherford rumors have leaked out, and now the Canes’ captain may be on the move too.
Darren Dreger mentioned Eric Staal‘s name a couple days ago when he was talking about potential trade targets for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Later, Ray Ferraro of TSN proposed a possible package trade for Eric Staal, including Tyler Bozak or Nazem Kadri, a young roster player, and a top end prospect.
We can speculate on who that “young roster player” and “top end prospect” could be, but players like Jake Gardiner, Morgan Rielly, and possibly Carter Ashton all fall in the young roster player category. Meanwhile, Frederick Gauthier is probably the only Leafs prospect that could be considered “top end”. Josh Leivo is another player that could be put into either of those categories, but I wouldn’t consider him a top end prospect by any means.
The Toronto Maple Leafs do hold the eighth pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. That is one pick after the Canes at seven.
Outside of the possibility of bringing in Bozak or Kadri, there isn’t much to like with that trade possibility. I doubt that the Toronto Maple Leafs would give up Morgan Rielly for anything at this point, and Jake Gardiner may also be a long shot. That leaves players like Josh Leivo and Carter Ashton who are fringe NHLers, and they aren’t enough return for Eric Staal, in my opinion.
The eighth pick in the draft would make a trade possibility pretty enticing. The Carolina Hurricanes could potentially use the seventh and eighth pick on a forward and a defenseman in Nick Ritchie and Haydn Fleury. Acquiring the eighth pick would also make it easier to move the seventh pick for immediate help.
Whether a block buster Eric Staal trade happens or not, it will still be a very interesting next few months as we enter the NHL offseason.