With the NHL trade deadline just a month and a half away, rumors are swirling as to who the Hurricanes are going after. One name that has come up more than others is Canucks captain, Bo Horvat.
The 27-year-old leads the Canucks with 48 points through just 43 games. According to Pierre Lebrun, the asking price for Horvat is a young center along with a multi-asset package. At this time, it is too much to give up on a rental.
Assuming the Canucks do not change their asking price and Carolina passes, let’s take a look at another center that could be available for a much cheaper price.
Chicago Blackhawks forward, Jonathan Toews, is a player that could fit perfectly into Rod Brind’Amour’s system. Although Toews is on the back end of his career, he is still putting up numbers.
The 34-year-old has 13 goals and 14 assists in 42 games played. Toews is a former Selke winner and a four-time finalist. He would slot in Carolina as a likely second or third-line center. An ideal line would be Toews centering Martin Necas and Andrei Svechnikov.
This line could be a problem for teams come May.
In his career, Toews is known to dominate the faceoff circle and can also contribute on both sides of special teams.
This season, Toews has won 63.87% of his faceoffs taken and scored 7 goals on the man advantage. Toews, like Jordan Staal, is a center that is hard to play against because of his skill, hockey IQ, and ability to play in all situations.
Another positive about the center is he knows how to win. The Winnipeg native helped lead the Chicago Blackhawks to lift the Stanley Cup three times in a stretch of six seasons.
In the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 22-year-old Toews, became the second-youngest player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Even though Carolina has made the playoffs in the past four seasons, they have not been able to make it past the Conference Finals. Carolina is not getting the production they had hoped for out of centers Paul Stastny and Jesperi Kotkaniemi so far this season. Adding a future Hall of Famer who knows how to win in the playoffs is beyond adequate.
A trade for Toews would likely require a third-party broker unless the Canes can somehow manage to take on half of his $10.5 million salary. The trade would likely cost Carolina a first-round draft pick to Chicago, as well as a late-round draft pick to a team that retains a percentage of the salary.
To get a deal done the current Blackhawks captain would have to waive his full no-trade clause which shouldn’t be a problem. This offseason Toews made it clear that he did not want to be a part of a rebuild at this point in his career.
Don Waddell and the Hurricane’s front office should look at Toews as a second option if the Horvat asking price is too high. With Max Pacioretty out, expect the Canes to be very active and look for someone they can slot into their top 6.