Could the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets help each other out?

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 15: Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 15, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 15: Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 15, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Carolina Hurricanes need to clear some cap space to assist the return of their Captain, Justin Williams. Could the answer lie in Columbus?

The Carolina Hurricanes, for the first time in a long time, are in need of shedding some cap space if they wish to see their Captain, Justin Williams, re-sign. With Brock McGinn signing a two year contract at a $2.1M AAV, this leaves the Carolina Hurricanes with only $2.5M in cap space.

Now it might not be too crazy to think the Captain might sign a sweetheart deal at that rate, but the Carolina Hurricanes still have a few more RFAs to sign including Trevor Carrick, Anton Forsberg, Saku Maenalanen, and Roland McKeown. Even then, Williams deserves more than $2.5M for his final season in the league.

Now granted, moving some of these contracts plus guys like Brian Gibbons and Gustav Forsling  down to minor league status opens up more Cap space, it still sits under the $4 Million that would ideally be needed, especially if the team decides that Saku Maenalanen should remain with the big club.

Now I’ve said this before, James Reimer and his contract needs to be moved. Waddell already mentioned that his plan was to move Reimer. They can’t buy him out, his contract sits under the $3,455,438 cap minimum for buying out players in the second buyout window once arbitration is complete with Forsberg who along with Alex Nedeljkovic are crowding out the backup role fight with Reimer.

A trade is the only way. I’ve already suggested a trade with the Colorado Avalanche earlier last week, but that was met with a lot of resistance. The Aves are more than happy to stick with an untested, yet highly thought of rookie netminder as their backup. So after some more research I had to set my sights on a very unlikely trade partner, a division rival.

That’s right, the Columbus Blue Jackets who are in a world of hurt after losing four star players in free agency, including Ryan Dzingel to the Carolina Hurricanes and Sergei Bobrovsky, their star goalie, to the Florida Panthers. If any team could use some help it’s the Blue Jackets.

That help will come at a cost. Right now their netminding duo are Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins. Now if you are wondering who these two men are and how a kid from Latvia who plays in Switzerland got the name Elvis, you aren’t alone.

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Korpisalo has played only 90 NHL games, starting 81, and winning only 41 total across four seasons of moving up and down between the AHL and NHL. Merzlikins, who is not an Elvis impersonator, but indeed named Elvis, Has yet to play a game in North America. His numbers in Switzerland aren’t terrible by any means by there is a change between the European and North American rinks.

Starting a goaltending duo with only 90 NHL games between them is a recipe for disaster. Now the Blue Jackets could all and well be needing that disaster to improve the value of the few draft picks they have in the 2020 NHL entry Draft, but I doubt that will sit well with the fan base. James Reimer could be the player they need to inject some veteran goaltending leadership that is now vacant.

The Blue Jackets can afford it as well. With only two RFAs left and a full roster, the Blue Jackets are sitting on over $15M in cap space! Now granted that roster is nowhere near one that was prominent in the playoffs last season and knocked out the president’s cup winners in four. But what the Jackets could use are draft picks. They only have 17 in the next three years.

So what would a trade between these two division rivals look like? Unlike the trade with the Aves that I suggested that would send two players, only Reimer would be heading for Ohio. Along with him however would be a third round draft pick that belongs to Buffalo, a remnant from the Skinner trade. All Columbus has to give in return is a single 5th round Draft Pick.

Columbus gets both veteran leadership in net that left with Bobrovsky and move up in the upcoming draft. Carolina gets to enjoy the cap space needed to sign their Captain. A win win for both teams.

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It’s no secret that Reimer is on the move. He hasn’t received the signatory social media welcome by the team, nor has be been issued a number. With Mrazek locked in with the starting role, the backup role is up for grabs. Should Reimer even be in the conversation when Ned waiting to take over?