Trade Deadline a Fireable Offense for Waddell?

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 07: General manager Don Waddell of the Carolina Hurricanes prior to Round One of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 07, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 07: General manager Don Waddell of the Carolina Hurricanes prior to Round One of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 07, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Heading into the 2023 NHL trade deadline the Carolina Hurricanes were prime to be active for the top available players to finalize the roster towards a run at the Stanley Cup. General Manager, Don Waddell, was working the phones the days and weeks before the deadline.

A lot of the teams in the Metro Division were adding top names and quality talent while chasing the Canes in the standings for the top spot in the division.

Waddell made a move days before the deadline for power play specialist, Shayne Gostisbehere, from the Arizona Coyotes. It was a move to upgrade the bottom defensive pairing with breakout star, Jalen Chatfield.

Surely that could not be the only move now that the New Jersey Devils were acquiring Timo Meier from the San Jose Sharks, while the New York Islanders jumped on Bo Horvat well before the deadline. The Islanders’ cross-town rivals went and got a familiar guy in Patrick Kane.

Unfortunately for all of us, there is not much suspense as we now know that the lone move forward was to acquire the Edmonton Oilers cast away Jesse Puljujarvi.

A top drafted talent that never really found his way in Edmonton, an offensive-minded team.

But bringing the Finnish talent to an already full Finn squad was a chance that could pay off in the end. At the very least it added forward depth and some size.

Things have not worked out for Puljujarvi yet in Carolina but there is still time before pulling the plug on a player of that skill. Give him an off-season in Carolina and a training camp with his teammates and coaching staff.

It is not Waddell’s fault that Andrei Svechnikov went down for the year with a knee injury but the lack of movement at the trade deadline now stuck out like a sore thumb.

Gostisbehere turned out to be a welcome addition to the club and helped the second power-play unit. Being an unrestricted free agent this summer, it is hard to see “Gost” coming back to Carolina if he wants a payday.

So for all the inactivity at the deadline and the now disappointment of not reaching their goal, should Waddell be replaced?

It is a much harder decision than it seems right now for Caniac Nation.

The real derailment of this season was injuries. That can happen any year to any team. Max Pacioretty was a solid pick-up, as we saw in a small number of games. Svechnikov is an elite talent as well. The two of them would surely have made this team better. Whether it meant a Stanley Cup is mere speculation.

On the other hand, Waddell and this management team will need to go “all in” for a season to solidify this group heading into the postseason (injuries or not).

With the creative minds available in hockey now it might be the time to bring in a fresh perspective while keeping the stability behind the bench with Brind’Amour.

Like the Florida Panthers did last off-season, the Canes could use a move to bolster the roster and change things up but not completely change the culture. I am not confident Waddell is the man for that move.

Either way, it is more important to realize that Championship windows are smaller in this NHL and it is time to go all in this summer and season whether it is Waddell or someone else.