Carolina Hurricanes recent play turned them from a deadline buyer to a seller
Talk about playing yourself out of playoff contention. At one point in the season, the Carolina Hurricanes sat one point out of the final playoff spot with a game in hand. Now? Now Carolina sits at the bottom of the Metropolitan. True the Hurricanes have four or three games in hand on those above them. And if the Hurricanes win all those games they will either be tied or a point behind. The team the Hurricanes would be a point behind are the Maple Leafs which with a win tonight against the Leafs erases that deficit. But let’s ignore all those facts and say the Hurricanes aren’t going to make the playoffs and need to sell at the deadline. Nevermind about all that after tonight’s loss it’s time to sell.
But which players should the Hurricanes try to trade? I’ve spoken several times about this issue but right now I think there are only a few players that fit Ron Francis’s MO at the trade deadline. One they have to be UFAs at the end of the season or close to it and two they can’t be a member of the team’s core. That whittle’s the list down to a select few that we’ll look at and try to determine their value on the open market.
I covered Ron Hainsey’s value in an earlier post and a lot of that still applies now. A lot of people see Ron Hainsey as an afterthought, but name me a playoff team who’s third pairing isn’t improved by his presence. I’m sure Leafs fans would rather have him than the infamous “Hunlak” duo. Probably only Minnesota or Nashville are really the only teams that Hainsey couldn’t improve their defensive corp.
Not only does his play warrant inclusion on these teams, but he checks off basically every bulletin board narrative there could be. Veteran leadership? Check. Plays a defensively sound game? Check. The old guy without a cup, or even better old guy without a single playoff game? Check. Hainsey has it all from both a narrative standpoint and a play standpoint. I still stand by the idea that Hainsey might be worth a 2018 2nd round pick to some team. If Francis wants picks for this year’s draft I think the best he’ll get is a third. Either way, Hainsey is one of the team’s most valuable assets to trade without harming the core group of players and I expect him to be the first to go this year.
Jay McCelement is a valuable addition to the Hurricanes bottom-six and a big part of the team’s penalty kill which is number one in the league…I can’t do this with a straight face. McClement sucks on to the next player.
All those things I tried to say about Jay McClement earlier actually applies to Viktor Stalberg. He’s a great bottom six player that provides depth. He’s good on the penalty kill where his speed can often spring himself or others on the break for good short handed opportunities. Stalberg’s speed will be an addition to any team’s fourth line. The thing is that really isn’t worth all that much. Still, I think a fifth or sixth round pick would be suitable in terms of what teams would spend to acquire Stalberg’s skill.
Stempniak is our third, and most likely final, valuable deadline trade chip. Last season the New Jersey Devils traded Lee Stempniak to the Boston Bruins for a 2nd and 4th pick. I don’t think the Carolina Hurricanes will get that type of return for Stempniak this year. So why don’t we split the difference and say that Stempniak should bring in a third round pick. If his point totals were higher than the Canes could expect more, but as of right now he seems like one of the odd men out in the Hurricanes offense. Still, in the right system, he could spring back to life and be a great depth addition. I don’t think getting a third in return is out of the question.