The Carolina Hurricanes made several trade-deadline moves to get the team to be more competitive. Was the move to get Brady Skjei worth it?
“That’s an ‘S’, a ‘K’, and a ‘J’ all together so that’s a nope…” The newest Carolina Hurricane has already received national stardom with the New York Rangers as the target of a skit on Saturday Night Live. But let’s break down the trade for the defender and if the Hurricanes came out on the winning side of it.
After Brett Pesce went down in the epic David Ayres game in Toronto, the Carolina Hurricanes were down not one, but two of their top defenders. They scurried to quickly add both Brady Skjei and Sami Vatanen to the roster to try and salvage the season after the trade deadline.
While Vatanen was injured with only the rest of the season on his contract, Skjei was healthy and had another four years on his contract. The return? A single conditional first-round pick. The condition was that it would be the lower of the two first-round picks that the Canes had, either theirs or Toronto’s.
That could be a steep price considering how deep the draft class is starting to look like this year, and with prospects like Jake Bean waiting on the wing to come up and prove their NHL value, was Skjei worth the loss of a first-round pick?
Unlike Vatanen, Skjei showed up to Carolina ready to play and make a difference on the blue line. He immediately found himself in the top four pairing with guys like Haydn Fleury and Joel Edmundson. He also quickly found himself on the wrong end of bad plays and in the penalty box way too many times for comfort.
But all good things take time and Skjei found himself improving game by game and finding his rhythm and place with this Carolina Hurricanes defense. He even got on the scoreboard not soon after the trade with his first point as a Cane.
Brady Skjei is an excellent defender and will remain a vital part of the Hurricanes blue line for years to come. Picking up a decent defender with that many years left on their contract for a first-round pick is a pretty even trade. If Skjei can continue to improve his defensive play under Rod Brind’amour and his excellent defensive coaches this trade may tip in Carolina’s favor.
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But the trade does have its cons. For one, it does nothing for the defensive logjam that the Hurricanes have. After this season, they will have Dougie Hamilton, Brady Skjei, Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, and Jake Gardiner on contract with Haydn Fleury as a restricted free agent.
Safely assuming that Haydn Fleury will be re-signed, that leaves no room for any prospects, including Jake Bean to try and make the NHL roster as anything other than an extra healthy scratch.
That has been an issue in the past losing out on great prospect defenders like Adam Fox and more recently, Luke Martin, who have opted to test out Free Agency or get traded to another team, like, funny enough, the New York Rangers.
How long will the Hurricanes deny their prospect defenders before many of them refuse to re-sign with the team in order to take their talents to a team that will play them at the NHL level? Time will tell.
Jake Bean was having a career season with the Checkers before the AHL season was prematurely ended. He only has a single season remaining on his ELC before he becomes an RFA and possibly a target for a quick and easy offer sheet. That is a problem for next year, however. Who knows what the state of the team will look like then.
For now, Brady Skjei is a welcomed addition to the Carolina Hurricanes, one that will continue to play a role for years to come.
Question For CC Readers: Do you think that the trade for Skjei was worth it, or should the Canes have called up Jake Bean?