Life for Carolina Hurricane’s General Manager, Don Waddell, just became a little more difficult and more importantly busier.
The Hurricanes roster is built to contend for a Stanley Cup but also has plenty of young pieces to sustain success over the next few years and beyond.
After a solid regular season last year and the strong first half of this season, the expectations continue to rise.
Waddell brought in Max Pacioretty and Brent Burns as the key additions to re-load for a run at the Cup.
Burns has been healthy and is performing at his usual pace, but Pacioretty has missed most of the season and will now be absent for the rest of the season due to a re-injury of his Achilles.
The team has battled a range of injuries this season with the likes of Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, and Frederik Andersen missing significant time.
The veteran depth and youth have filled in nicely and will continue to be tested through the winter.
With expectations rising and Pacioretty’s injury fresh in the minds of the staff and fans, the reaction is to replace Pacioretty with a star acquisition.
But is this the only option for Waddell?
This is a strong squad for sure, but it is not perfect by any means. The organization has some young players chomping at the bit to step in, but it is a tough ask to have youth produce in a playoff run.
Would the better option be for Waddell to add better depth than use all the cap space on one player to replace Pacioretty?
I would argue this team is another big injury away from being significantly weaker compared to the other playoff contenders.
The market will surely have more affordable options for defense and solid forward depth with specialties that fit the Canes’ needs right now.
The power play could use assistance whether it is from a forward or a depth defenseman.
The bottom pairing on defense has been solid but Calvin De Haan is always a risk for injury will Jalen Chatfield hit a wall when he is on pace to play the most games in a season for his career?
However, the cards fall for Waddell, he has more options than risking future assets for one player to replace a player that has hardly played this season anyway.