Living in Fantasyland: Exploring a Trade for Trevor Zegras

Toronto Maple Leafs v Anaheim Ducks
Toronto Maple Leafs v Anaheim Ducks / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

I would like to start by saying all of this is completely hypothetical.  While it is rumored that Zegras is on the trade block, he has not been linked to the Hurricanes in any rumor mill trade scenario.  With that being said, the Hurricanes could potentially be a great landing spot for the ultra-talented young forward.  Zegras was slow to sign his extension over the summer and there are rumors that the Ducks are ready to move on from the young playmaker.

Let's first have a look at what the ‘Canes would need to give up to acquire Zegras.  With the Hurricanes being in win-now mode, they should not hesitate to give up early-round draft picks to acquire the right player at the deadline.  Coming with an AAV of 5.7 million, the 'Canes would need to send back a player of similar salary as it is unlikely the Ducks would be willing to eat any of Zegras’ salary.  In my thinking, the Hurricanes could offer this realistic package to the Duck for Zegras

Ducks Receive: Brady Skjei, 2024 1st, and Vasili Ponomaryov

Hurricanes Receive: Zegras

First off, I realize I may be heavily undervaluing Zegras as a trade chip.  One of the team’s second round picks or another prospect could be added to sweeten the deal.  I wanted to put Brett Pesce as the trade piece but Skjei’s higher salary will offset the cap hit for Zegras this season.  With this trade, the Ducks acquire an expiring contract in Brady Skjei, a first round draft pick in the upcoming draft, and a dynamic young forward that shined in his NHL debut.  It seems like a steep price to pay in losing Brady Skjei (who is having his best NHL season) and a skilled prospect; but we have to keep in mind that Zegras is only 22 years old, already has two 60 point season under his belt, and is under contract for another two seasons. This trade however, would likely mean the end of Teuvo Teräväinen’s tenure in a Hurricanes uniform.  

Positives: Hurricanes receive a dynamic young playmaker with two more years of team control.  Can slot into the 2nd line center role-moving KK down to the 3rd line.  The second line center role could allow Zegras to shine brightly offensively without the burden of facing the other team’s top line each game.  Zegras and Necas would also be very fun to watch.  

Negatives: Zegras would experience a steep learning curve playing in Rod Brind ‘Amour’s 200 feet system and he is also currently injured.  Zegras would have to show the willingness to learn and grow as a player; something he seemed reluctant to do during his time in Anaheim.  Also, DeAngelo is not near as dependable as Brady Skjei

Overall I think the positives of this trade outweigh the negatives; especially long term.  Zegras is an intriguing option for a deadline deal and most likely a more realistic option than the Flyers dealing Sean Couturier or Travis Konecny.  Dynamic and skilled playmakers of Zegras’ caliber and age  do not often get discussed in the rumor mill and the Hurricanes should be actively listening if the Ducks are truly looking to move their young star.