Entering the trade deadline in 2009, the Hurricanes were far back in their division but were in the conversation to take an at-large spot. On deadline day, the team made a huge three-team deal with the Oilers and Kings. The first step was the Hurricanes trading Justin Williams to the Kings for Patrick O'Sullivan and a 2009 2nd Round pick. The Canes turned around and flipped O'Sullivan and a different 2nd Round pick in 2009 to the Oilers for Erik Cole and a 2009 5th Round pick.
Cole had just been traded in the offseason to the Oilers for Joni Pitkanen. Of the three players involved in the deal, Cole made the biggest impact immediately, scoring 15 points in 17 games. Williams might not have done much for the Kings to end the 2008-09 season, but he would go on to play six full seasons in Los Angeles, winning two Stanley Cups and a Conn Smythe. O'Sullivan had been playing well for the Kings at the time of the trade, and he scored 34 points for the Oilers the following season, but his fall-off was steep as he signed internationally in 2012.
The draft picks weren't as glamorous. The Canes used the 51st pick to select Brian Dumoulin. He wouldn't ever suit up for the Canes, being used as part of the trade that brought Jordan Staal to Raleigh in 2012. Dumoulin has gone on to become a solid defenseman, currently playing for the Kraken. The 5th Round pick was used on Matt Kennedy, who never made it to the NHL. The Oilers never used the 2nd Round pick they received from the Canes, trading it the same day to Buffalo for Ales Kotalik. The pick eventually landed with Toronto, who selected Jesse Blacker 58th overall.
The Canes went on a run at the end of the season, winning nine straight games to qualify for the playoffs. Their 2009 run is one of the most iconic in organization history, featuring Game 7 wins over the Devils and Bruins before being swept in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Penguins.