The Carolina Hurricanes go into the offseason with a solid defensive core to trade.
With the Carolina Hurricanes still boasting an elite defense in the absence of Brett Pesce, how could the New York Native be used as a trade piece?
Carolina is widely considered to be one of the better teams in the National Hockey League. A great young, fast team, people often suggest Carolina are true cup threats. Why is this? Mainly because of their blueline. Commonly acknowledged as the best in the NHL, Carolina boasts 10 capable NHL defenders at this moment, with 7 set to be back next year. Could they look at moving one?
There’s no evidence to suggest that they are or are not looking to shift one of their defensemen, this is pure speculation. However, today I thought I’d look at the idea of trading Brett Pesce. For what it’s worth, I personally believe this would be a bad idea and that Pesce is a top 15 defender in the NHL, but I’m bored so let’s have some fun!
To understand what Carolina could get for Pesce, it is important to understand why Pesce is so good. Being one of the best defensive defenders in the National Hockey League, and probably the best after a certain Coyote that you’ll all probably know, Pesce excels in all three zones. He can lead a breakout, generate offense, or shut the door when you need him to.
I would make the case he is a top 10 right-handed defender in the NHL and certainly a top 15 all-around defender across the league. It’s also no secret that Pesce has had a great contract making a little over 4 million dollars for the next 4 years. So, who could Carolina possibly get for this defensive mastermind?
Well, let’s start with potential trade partners. Around the NHL, who needs a defensively sound right-handed defender? For those of you that don’t follow teams to much outside of the Hurricanes, the screaming answer is the team that we beat with a Zamboni driver between the pipes. Other partners may include teams like Vancouver, Calgary, or Winnipeg. Other Canadian teams are available.
Let’s start with Toronto. I don’t understand why something like this hasn’t been inquired about, at least by Kyle Dubas and the Maple Leafs. Pesce fits their needs to perfection. A suggested return for Pesce? Fans like to throw William Nylander around a lot. Now there was a rumor a few years ago that Pesce and a 2nd was offered for Nylander, but wasn’t taken by Toronto.
Vancouver is another partner that makes a lot of sense. In a cap crunch, Vancouver needs defenders desperately. Someone like Pesce would fit their needs perfectly, being a defensively sound defender making roughly 4 million a year. I’d expect someone like Brock Boeser. I recently did a piece on this and I will attach it below if you wish to read up on a potential Boeser trade.
Someone like Winnipeg could certainly use any kind of defender. Pesce would fit perfectly, and this could be another case like Toronto where they’re perfect trade partners. Someone like Nikolaj Ehlers could be a perfect trade target. Likely would have to be more than just Pesce, but a strong defensive game and 70 point game would not be a bad addition to the forward core at Pesce’s expense.
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Calgary is in the market for a defender with only three defenders under contract next year. Calgary and Carolina have always had a good trade partnership, so it’s very likely the Flames will inquire about some defenders. I cannot see a clear asset the Canes would want back for Pesce that is achievable here, so it would likely have to be future assets like picks and prospects.
In summary, the Canes would need a top 6 forward back for such a desirable piece like Pesce. Making as little as he does really does outline the importance of good contracts on the blueline. Defensively, he’s the best of the best. There’s nothing Pesce cannot do and if he got more media exposure, he’d be there with the likes of Jaccob Slavin.
Just want to throw this in, since I have written most of this article, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic has stated Carolina Hurricanes do not wish to move Brett Pesce unless it is a drastic overpay, so this is all purely theoretical.
Pesce holds great value to this hockey club and he is a piece the Canes want to have around for a long time, and you can understand why in the way he plays and carries himself.