As fans of the Carolina Hurricanes, we are always on high alert when someone else in the division makes a few moves. Free agency hasn’t begun, and it won’t until Saturday, but moves are being made already. The race to regain the division crown is getting much more challenging with every move made by the New Jersey Devils.
After beating out the Canes for Timo Meier at the trade deadline, the Devils re-signed him to an eight-year contract on Wednesday. Add this to the extension they gave to Jesper Bratt earlier this month and the trade for Tyler Toffoli, and it appears that the Devils are going all-in to try and push for the division and, potentially, the Stanley Cup.
While the Hurricanes beat the Devils in short order during the second round of playoffs, everything is wiped clean when the season starts. It’s made me slightly concerned about the Canes falling behind the other top contenders in the division, namely the Devils and the Rangers.
With the injury to Andrei Svechnikov near the end of the season, it became evident that the Canes lacked another pure sniper. Svechnikov’s absence during the Eastern Conference Final was intensely felt after losing in four games and scoring just six goals. This is an area the Canes need to focus on over the next few days.
I don’t typically condone the team going all out to ensure they add a high-end player to the roster, but the Carolina Hurricanes need to do something to keep up with the rest of the division. As constructed, the team is outstanding. They’re just missing another goal-scorer.
Looking at the crop of free agents set to hit the market on Saturday, there isn’t one that stands out to me as truly exceptional. Vladimir Tarasenko can get 30-40 goals in a season, but I’m hesitant to say he’s the best fit for the team, and injuries have been a concern. Alex DeBrincat is a popular name that has floated around as being available, but it feels like they would need to give up an arm and a leg to acquire him and sign him to a long contract.
The truth might be that there isn’t a sniper on the market for the Canes to go after at the moment. They’re either asking for too much money on the open market or could cost us too much of our future in the team traded for them. That probably won’t sit well with the fans who feel they need to add some goals. I’d even bet there will be many within the fanbase and the media to assert that the Canes are sitting back and letting the rest of the division pass them by if they don’t make a big move. It felt like that’s all anyone was saying after the trade deadline and the Svechnikov injury.
Making a big move isn’t always the answer. However, it feels like it is in this case. The Carolina Hurricanes need to do something to make us all feel a little more comfortable about the team’s current position. While they’ve managed three straight division crowns, a fourth will be a tough ask with everyone else getting better. The draft is an excellent place to make a move, though we may not see anything until after it finishes. It’s time to be bold and turn this wagon into the favorite in the Eastern Conference for next season.