1. Ron Francis won’t make a big splash at the Trade Deadline
The trade rumors surrounding players like Noah Hanifin, Victor Rask, and Elias Lindholm went around since Jan. 2017, a bit less than two months before last season’s Trade Deadline. This year, players like Justin Faulk and even Derek Ryan are among the same rumors.
Faulk’s improved play over the past month is an encouraging sign for his job security in Raleigh. His three goals since the turn of the calendar year are a vast climb from his one goal through the first 35 games.
However, Ron Francis is not the type of mind that takes a huge gamble in this situation. Possibly his best asset, Aho, does not have a good timetable to return to the lineup yet. And, the Canes are actually tied for last place in the tightly packed Metro, with the Philadelphia Flyers at 48 points.
Needs like a veteran defenseman and a first line center have to move aside to the initial focus of getting Aho healthy and productive again. Yet, no argument from us comes up if Francis inquires about a trade piece like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, or Evander Kane.
The thought of an acquisition like that in combination with adding Aho back into the mix could power this team to the playoffs no matter what.