The NHL trade deadline is about a month and a half away but that is not the only day an NHL general manager works. Like every team in the hunt, the Carolina Hurricanes have positions of need as well as positions of strength. Whether it is tinkering with some moves or making a "hockey" trade, this team will look to fill its holes.
Unlike fan general managers or the ones in video games, the real people in charge need to look at every facet of the organization before making a transaction. Don Waddell needs to push this team over the top but also has the future to consider. This team is full of pending UFAs and RFAs.
If the organization feels this is not the group to win the title this year for whatever reason, this would be a chance to unload expiring contracts for assets. Unlikely as that may be, it is always in the cards.
The more likely path will be looking to add to this roster or make a "hockey" trade where important players go both ways for either a change of scenery or other differences. This is the only scenario where a player like Martin Necas would be moved.
The club entered the season with depth in every position and the goalie was no different. Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta had returned on new contracts to provide the veteran presence in the crease. The future, Pyotr Kochetkov, was available and ready for action now.
Fast forward and Andersen is a huge question mark of returning this season or in his career at all. Raanta has had a down year and cannot be counted on for more than a few games at a time.
Kochetkov has been solid but is feeling his way into the league as every young keeper will do. Although capable of helping this team make a playoff run, it would be nice to know someone behind him could carry the team.
Similar to last season when the Canes acquired Shayne Gostisbehere before the trade deadline, despite having 6-7 quality defensemen, the Canes will need to add between the pipes. Whether it is a backup looking for more minutes or a starter with an expiring contract, Waddell needs to be alert on this move. The recent scare of Kochetkov's health was reason enough to show management that this is a priority.
Players like John Gibson would be a long shot because he would take over shortly, but players like San Jose's Kaapo Kahkonen or Detroit's James Reimer could make a lot of sense.
The fact this is still a topic is a very poor reflection on Waddell. This was arguably the one thing missing from the team getting to the Stanley Cup Finals last season and it was not addressed last summer. No Michael Bunting was not the offense needed at the forward position.
Scoring in the playoffs is different than the regular season and that is known throughout all of Raleigh by now.
A healthy Andrei Svechnikov helps a ton but another player who shoots relentlessly and puts up goals is the difference between teams fearing a first-round playoff matchup against the Canes or not.
The pure threat of said sniper would create better opportunities for other players to score more. But more importantly, it would bring the scoring level of this team way up and on the man advantage.
A player like Max Pacioretty would have been nice if he had stayed healthy last season. You never know, he could be on the radar this spring as well. Another player is Anthony Duclair from San Jose. He is not lighting it up this year but has the pedigree of scoring a lot.
Those options are nice but the real target needs to be a familiar face from Calgary. Elias Lindholm was traded away from Carolina in 2018 but with his contract expiring, he is a perfect fit to come back to Raleigh.
Lindholm would be the power move that everyone was looking for last season but fits even better now. He provides a solid right-handed shot to complement a bunch of lefties in the top six. The ability to score goals is evident but that playmaking ability will feed the open men caused by the attention on Lindholm.