From here until the end of the season, the Carolina Hurricanes season will have many factors that will play into the ultimate success or failure of this season. Injuries, trades, signings could all be big factors but the trade to acquire Jesse Puljujarvi could be the biggest one.
The NHL trade deadline came and went with the Canes silent after acquiring Jesse Puljujarvi from the Edmonton Oilers and Shayne Gostisbehere from the Arizona Coyotes.
Both were solid depth pieces brought into a strong club but not the home run trade that Caniacs were looking to see. The other Metro Division rivals had made splashes but it was not in the cards for Don Waddell.
Gostisbehere provided an obvious need for the power play but Puljujarvi was somewhat puzzling with some major upside. After being drafted in the first round by the Edmonton Oilers, he never quite panned out.
Playing with his fellow countrymen might provide a spark to reach that potential but who would really know?
Once Andrei Svechnikov went down for the remainder of the season, the devastating news brought a big spotlight on Puljujarvi. It is time to see that potential reached in Raleigh.
Having the skill to play in the top six, Puljujarvi now has an opportunity to step in for Svechnikov on a line with friend, Sebastian Aho. Playing with a gifted center and friend will provide the best opportunity for Puljujarvi to become that top player that was chosen so high in the draft.
If Puljujarvi can come close to the potential and click with Aho then this team could be carried through the playoff with top line production.
It is hard to ask a player to step in and replace one of the more productive and popular players on the team but after a fairly quiet deadline, the pressure will be on Puljujarvi to produce and quickly.
It does not necessarily have to happen in the regular season but the playoffs will be his best chance to shine. The chemistry will take time and this line has the perfect amount of regular season games to get on the same page.
When the golf clubs are being pulled out, whether after a parade or not, the Puljujarvi trade will be a turning point to look back at.