Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche Should Make this Trade

DENVER, CO - MARCH 11: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Pepsi Center on March 11, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - MARCH 11: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Pepsi Center on March 11, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Carolina Hurricanes and the Colorado Avalanche are two teams that are looking to rebound after a hopeful wildcard bid saw them exit the playoffs without a trip to the final dance. Could a trade be beneficial to both teams?

Wildcard Chaos Squad. That was the team comprised of the Dallas Stars, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Carolina Hurricanes, wild card teams that each knocked out the four division champions out of the playoffs and push into the second round. From there only a single wild card team made it to the conference finals, the Carolina Hurricanes. But even they were destined to fall there.

Today each of those teams is looking for the pieces they need to make another playoff bid and build off the success they saw last season. While the Columbus Blue Jackets seem to be all but lost and the Dallas Stars seem to have the pieces they need to succeed, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Colorado Avalanche could possibly conduct some business that could be beneficial to both teams.

Each of these teams have a need that can the other can either directly or indirectly support. The Carolina Hurricanes are now only sitting on $10,394,334 of cap space while still needing to sign eight RFAs and possibly make room for the return of Justin Williams. They also are in need of some more potential help on offense to help turn the team into one that can fully compete in the East.

The Colorado Avalanche are in need of a backup netminder with the exit of Semyon Varlamov to the New York Islanders. While Pavel Francouz, their starting netminder for the Colorado Eagles AHL team, did post decent numbers in the two NHL games he played last season, both games resulted in losses. He simply isn’t NHL ready. This is where the Hurricanes can help.

James Reimer, traded to the team for Scott Darling and a draft pick, commands a $3.4 million cap hit. One that the Hurricanes would love to move on from considering he is crowding the competition for the backup position that already includes Alex Nedeljkovic and Anton Forsberg. Reimer might be the answer to the backup position in Colorado, but that won’t be enough to convince the Aves to take the cap hit that comes along with it.

If Reimer were to the join the team he would be paid more than the man he is backing up, Philipp Grubauer. To sweeten the pot and get the deal done, the Carolina Hurricanes would have to help address another sore spot for the Avalanche, their Defense. While on paper, they have an excellent defensive core, once you look deeper it’s not as strong as one might think.

They currently have nine defenders who are either signed or have their RFA rights retained via qualifying offer. However of those eight, two are injured. Veteran Ian Cole is still hurting from a hip injury and the soonest they could expect him back is December.  Erik Johnson is also a little banged up and is questionable to start in October. Those two are their top defensive pair.

Of the other Remaining seven, two are pushing 30 years of age, and three are either on their ELC or two way contracts. Even their single RFA in the group, Ryan Graves, has limited NHL time and could still use plenty of AHL experience. That leaves Colorado with only three reliable defenders come October 3rd. ‘

This is where the Hurricanes could help by sending them an experienced defensive prospect in the form of Trevor Carrick to help sweeten the pot of taking of Reimer’s Contract. Carrick is experienced enough to make the opening night roster and deliver enough confidence while Johnson and Cole recover. The only thing  the Carolina Hurricanes would ask for in return is a pair of draft picks.

Now you are wondering what that asterisk is doing after that 6th rounder. Well it would be a conditional pick if Reimer plays more than 30 regular season games. Why? Because regardless of all the talk of the cap space he commands and how Florida considered buying him out, he was once a very good goalie who could be relied on to man the crease at least 30+ games a season.

If for any reason Philipp Grubauer goes down and Reimer gets the Aves back up and running without a hitch towards the playoffs, a single draft pick will not be enough compensation for what the Hurricanes have given up. Considering he has yet to play a season in his career with less than 33 starts, it’s very possible that gets those starts regardless.

Now the only issue with this trade is a looming FA goaltender that the Carolina Hurricanes should be more than familiar with that the Avalanche could sign to fill in the backup role while Francouz continues to develop in the minors. That’s right, Cam Ward. After a subpar year in Chicago, Ward is back on the Free Agency market and could be a cheaper option in goal.

Would the Aves go after Ward, who will be turning 36 halfway through the season? I have no idea how Joe Sakic wants to go about with the backup role in net. Philipp Grubauer has been amazing for them last season and will continue to command the starting position and play a heavy workload. But a team that wants to get into the playoffs needs a backup that can win games as well. Neither Ward or Francouz has delivered much of that.

Is this a perfect trade? No. Would it help both teams? Yes. Colorado gets some confidence on defense and at the very least some competition for the backup role to Grubauer. The Carolina Hurricanes get some cap space they can use while also alleviating themselves of another RFA to sign. The draft picks don’t hurt either.

Hot. Hurricanes Officially End Offer Sheet Drama. light

Question for CC Readers: Do you think that this possible trade to make cap space is worth giving up Trevor Carrick for?