#1 Elias Lindholm
It’s tough to regret letting a guy go when, in turn, you get a guy who’s a perfect fit for your team, as the Hurricanes did with Dougie Hamilton, but unfortunately, Elias Lindholm fits the bill.
Despite never quite amounting to his potential after being drafted 5th overall in 2013 by the Carolina Hurricanes, Lindholm was a guy that many felt hadn’t really broken out with the team yet. He was given top-6 minutes frequently, but never really with a player that could capitalize on his playing style.
With the Hurricanes, Lindholm was frequently deployed with Jeff Skinner, who produces a ton of offense mostly on his own, and centers Jordan Staal and Victor Rask. Lindholm’s noticeably high hockey IQ and vision was always a step ahead of his teammates, who couldn’t keep up to Lindholm’s high paced playmaking ability.
To the shock of no one, after being dealt to Calgary and planted alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan on the Flames’ top line , Lindholm had his breakout year. He set new career highs in goals (27), assists (51), points (78) and a +30 rating. He even averaged over 2 minutes per game in short-handed ice time.
On top of that, the Flames signed Lindholm to a 6-year deal with a 4.85 AAV, so they now have a 24-year old stud entering his prime at a bargain rate. The Hurricanes and Lindholm were reportedly just under 1 million AAV apart on a deal, which prompted the team to move him.
Despite all that, there’s no saying that Lindholm would’ve broken out in Carolina. He was never deployed at center (the position he was drafted to play), and was inconsistent during his 5-year Hurricanes tenure. But, considering his sky-high upside and undervalued contract, the Hurricanes surely feel they should’ve made a better effort to keep him.
So, that’s 5 guys the Hurricanes probably regret moving on from. CC readers, who would you add or remove from this list?