Remembering The Biggest Trade Deadlines in Hurricanes History: Return to Relevance

After nearly a decade without postseason hockey, it took some massive changes to turn a struggling franchise into a consistent threat in the Eastern Conference.

Boston Bruins v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Four
Boston Bruins v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Four / Elsa/GettyImages
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2020, Continued

Andrew Ladd, Brady Skjei
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

A big issue to address was the defense. Dougie Hamilton had broken his fibula in January, and Brett Pesce required shoulder surgery after getting hurt during the infamous EBUG game in Toronto. Upgrading the blue line with two guys out long-term became the focus. First, the team made a trade within the division, bringing in Brady Skjei from the Rangers for a conditional 1st Round pick in 2020. Skjei has become one of the Canes' most reliable defensemen during his time in Raleigh. Across the calendar years of 2022 and 2023, Skjei was fifth among all defensemen in goals (32), and he's climbing the franchise ranks for offensive production among blueliners.

Their second move to help the defense saw them make another divisional trade, acquiring Sami Vatanen from the Devils for Janne Kuokkanen, Fredrik Claesson, and a conditional 4th Round pick in 2020. Kuokkanen was a solid addition for the Devils, becoming a regular the following season and scoring 42 points in 108 games before signing internationally last season. Claesson only played five games with the Devils, scoring two points, before signing with the Sharks.

Even the pick they received could turn into something down the line. The condition placed on the pick was met, turning it into a 3rd Round pick, and with the 84th pick, the Devils selected goalie Nico Daws. While he's seen some action early in his career, Daws could be looked at as the goalie of the future for the Devils. Vatanen's acquisition was an interesting one because he was injured when the Canes traded for him. It was anticipated he'd be good to go by March, but COVID-19 struck and canceled the remainder of the regular season. Vatanen did return for the postseason bubble, recording three assists in seven games.

The final piece to discuss is the pick they sent to the Rangers, and context is incredibly important for this one. Before the season, the Canes struck a deal with the Maple Leafs to take on the contract of Patrick Marleau. To sweeten the deal, Toronto gave Carolina two picks, including a Top-10 protected 1st Round pick in 2020. Marleau's time as a Hurricanes lasted less than a week, being bought out to become a free agent. By bringing in Skjei, the Canes agreed to trade the lower of their two 1st Round picks to the Rangers.

With Toronto being eliminated in the Qualifying Round and the Hurricanes being ousted in the 1st Round by Boston, Carolina ended up with the 13th and 22nd picks, the latter of which was sent to New York. The 22nd pick went on a journey. The Rangers traded it to the Flames to move up three spots, and the Flames shuffled it to the Capitals to move down two spots. In the end, the Rangers selected Braden Schneider 19th overall, the Capitals selected Hendrix Lapierre 22nd overall, and Calgary selected Connor Zary 24th overall. All three players figure to be big parts of their teams' futures.

Selected before all of them, the Hurricanes used the 13th pick to select Seth Jarvis. In three seasons, Jarvis has become an instant favorite amongst the Caniacs. He has set new career highs in most offensive categories this season. The hope is that he'll be sticking around for a long time, with his rookie contract set to expire at the end of this season.