The Carolina Hurricanes need to make moves this before the NHL Trade Deadline, but none more pressing than finding someone to fill the net.
It is a fun time of year. The NHL Trade Deadline offers team the unique chance to make or break their season. For the Carolina Hurricanes, they will need to look for offense and maybe acquiring some picks. Above all though, they need to find a goalie.
When Ron Francis picks up the phone to make deals, getting a goalie will need to be his top priority. Sure, offense has been inconsistent for the Hurricanes and there are some holes. None of that really compares to the calamity that is Carolina’s goal situation.
Francis’ gamble to give Cam Ward a new contract has back fired and wound up hurting the Canes significantly. In order to correct his mistake he must make a trade for at least an average starting goalie.
Nightmares in Net
For those who believe Carolina’s issues aren’t goaltending related, here are some numbers. Of goalies who have played more than 30 games, Cam Ward ranks 27th of 30 in save percentage at 5v5 and 28th of 30 in shorthanded save percentage. To his credit, Ward is top 10 in the NHL in saves, but that is mostly because he has seen the net the 5th most of any goalie in the league this season.
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Listen, there are games were Ward plays solid and his team lets him down. That is not the overall trend though. The Hurricanes quality of shot suppression doesn’t warrant their current ranking as the 21st best defense in the league. The causality comes from just plain, bad goal keeping.
What these numbers boil down to is Ward is played as though he is a top 10 goalie, but has the statistical figures of an irregular back up. As we wrote about last week, this isn’t by choice, but rather necessity. The Canes have no other viable options. They are doing the best with the quality they have. That is why they need to make a move now. Carolina can’t keep the status quo.
Prices Are Low
Luckily for Carolina, their demand for a goalie comes at a time where teams are actively looking to unload goalies. After the season, the expansion draft for the Vegas Golden Knights is having general managers all over the league make the necessary moves to keep core players in tact. For some teams, that means having to unload a quality keeper or risk losing him for nothing.
This has made the goal market at the deadline a buyers market. GM’s are going to take what they can get because its better than getting nothing for an otherwise decent goalie. This presents the Hurricanes a fantastic opportunity to acquire a goalie at a relatively lower price compared to making a move after the expansion draft, like at the entry draft.
The two main teams to target are the Penguins and the Lightening. Both are cap pressed teams with 1a, 1b goaltending situations. It makes sense that they’d choose the younger of the two to protect from the expansion draft. That leaves experienced and skilled goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Ben Bishop on the chopping block. It is rare that such quality exists on the goaltending trade market, even more so when there is incentive to sell for the Pens and Bolts. The Hurricanes simply can’t afford to pass up this opportunity.