The Carolina Hurricanes continue to pop up in trade speculation, raising a few interesting questions. If GM Don Waddell does land another top-9 forward, which current player could become the odd-man-out?
The rumors have been circulating regularly for weeks, exacerbated by Erik Haula‘s continuing injury concern. In an interview with NHL.com, Carolina Hurricanes’ head coach Rod Brind’Amour didn’t sound particularly optimistic regarding Haula’s condition: “He’s going to be out for a while. I can’t give you any update as length of time, but he’s not playing any time soon, I don’t think.”
Haula, who has missed 4 of the Hurricanes’ 20 games heading into Tuesday’s match-up against the Chicago Blackhawks, is a major concern. Coming off of a season lost to a severe knee injury, the Finnish center has posted 8 goals and 11 points in 16 games while providing a solid net-front presence. An extended absence could spell big trouble for a talented yet inconsistent Hurricanes team.
Waddell once again went to the Finnish National Reserve, recalling Eetu Luostarinen from the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. Luostarinen, 21, was impressive in his 3 game stint that started on November 9. That said, Carolina needs offense and it’s not fair to expect the youngster to carry the burden. Whereas the earlier trade chatter was intriguing, the possibility of Haula being out long-term almost makes it a necessity.
Any speculative trade will likely see the Hurricanes move a defenseman out, though the constraints of the salary cap may necessitate a forward being moved as well. Let’s take a look at three players who could end up on the outside looking in, should such a theoretical trade take place.