According to reports, the Carolina Hurricanes are shopping for help on the blueline. What are some possible targets?
With the trade deadline looming, rumors are once again circulating in full force around the league. According to some of these reports, the Carolina Hurricanes appear to be in the market for help on the blueline. More specifically, a second pair, “defense first,” left shot defenseman. What are some of the names being thrown around?
What has traditionally been seen as a position of strength, the Hurricanes’ defense has seen its fair share of turnover the past couple of seasons. With long time Cane Justin Faulk, short tenured, fan favorite Calvin de Haan and promising young star Noah Hanifin among the notable departures, upper management hasn’t been afraid to make a move if they feel like it’ll help the team both now and longer term.
While these changes have normally worked out in their favor, it seems as if the Hurricanes currently find themselves with a hole on the second pair. A hole that they were reportedly looking externally to fill even before the unfortunate injury of Dougie Hamilton. Now, it goes without saying that these are just rumors and should be taken with a grain of salt, but given the track record of the sources reporting on this, it appears that Don Waddell and Co. are at least making their fair share of calls.
In the offseason, Jake Gardiner was signed to a four year deal with the hopes of solidifying the backend. While Justin Faulk was still a part of the organization when the deal was signed, his future was very much in limbo. It was clear that the two sides had engaged in back to forth discussions and it was looking like it was time to part ways.
During training camp they finally bit the bullet and moved Justin to St. Louis in exchange for Joel Edmundson and prospect Dominik Bokk. Right as the deal was announced, Faulk signed a lucrative extension with the Blues where he’s set to make a base salary of nine million dollars the next two seasons, the first two of a seven-year deal, something the Carolina Hurricanes’ brass was reluctant to do and rightfully so.
With Faulk’s departure, Brett Pesce was expected to slide back over to his natural side and be paired with Gardiner. However, when the regular season opened up, Jake was dealing with a nagging injury and the coaching staff opted to ease him back into action on the third pair, in turn Edmundson started out on Pesce’s left side.
Having to learn a new system with a new organization for the first time in his NHL career, the adjustment for Gardiner hasn’t been as seamless as fans and management would have liked. At times, he’s shown his game impacting potential, but he’s also made a lot of costly mistakes. Like Hamilton last season, it looks like Jake has finally started to figure things out for the stretch run, putting together a few solid performances in the past couple of games.
With Dougie and Jake more offensive minded defenseman, Trevor van Riemsdyk having a bit of a down year, the lack of trust in Haydn Fleury and Edmundson more fit for the third pair, management appears to be targeting someone who can come in and provide the team with twenty or so minutes a night of solid defensive play. With that in mind, the two names that are being linked to the Carolina Hurricanes with regularity are Jonas Brodin and Alec Martinez.