Category Archives: Car. Hurricanes

Initial Recation: Eberle, van Riemsdyk, and Schlemko trades 

The first dominos of the trade market fell on Thursday afternoon, with a trio of trades being completed. 

The first was Jordan Eberle to New York for Ryan Strome. The second and third were both Vegas dealing defensemen to the Eastern Conference, as Trevor van Riemsdyk and David Schlemko went to Carolina and Montreal respectively. 

My initial reaction to these deals is mixed. But, we’ll take it one by one. 

For the Oilers and Islanders, the logic behind the deal is obvious. Edmonton wanted to shed salary either for free agency or to re-sign Kris Russell. Trading Eberle for Strome saves them $3.5 million on the cap for next season. 

As for the Islanders, this is a win-now move. Strome is under a .50 points-per-game pace for his career. Eberle, on the contrary, is nearly at .75 points-per-game for his career. Eberle and Tavares also go back almost a decade in terms of their relationship. Both player for Team Canada’s World Juniors team in the late 2000s. 

The logic behind the deal is evident, but the Islanders are the winners on the surface. They are getting the more established and more consistent player. However, what the Oilers will do with the added cap space remains to be seen. 

As for the van Riemsdyk to Carolina trade, it seems fair for both sides. van Riemsdyk will get a chance to thrive in a larger role in Carolina, whereas Vegas gets a second round pick back for someone that they acquired for nothing. 

The deal just further exemplifies how many draft picks Vegas is stockpiling. In the first two rounds this year, they now have three first round picks and three second round picks. It is quite the head start for the league’s 31st franchise. 

Lastly, the Schlemko deal is a great one for Montreal. Giving up just a fifth round pick for him is a steal. 

Schlemko has three more years left on his deal at $2.1 million per. He is a fantastic skater, and, in fact, his skating is what made him so successful in San Jose last season. 

Schlemko will be able to slot in anywhere between the #4 and #6 role in Montreal. He is able to play in all situations and would be a nice replacement (in a sense) for when Andrei Markov departs. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Expect many more moves to come in the next few days. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

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Predicting Protected Lists: Carolina Hurricanes 

The Hurricanes are in a relatively good position in regards to the expansion draft. Many of their young players, including Aho, Slavin, Hanifin, and Pesce, are exempt from being selected. However, on the down side, they do not have many players that meet the exposure requirements and that may affect their protection list in a negative way. 

Up front, there are five players that will undoubtedly be protected. They are Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, Teuvo Teravainen, Victor Rask, and Elias Lindholm. 

For this projection, the last two players filling up the protection list for forwards will be Phillip Di Giuseppe and Brock McGinn. The two main players being exposed, Joakim Nordstrom and Lee Stempniak, are the only other two players on Carolina’s roster that will fulfill the forward exposure requirement. 

However, it is entirely possible that Carolina could trade for a forward that another team could not protect. In all likelihood, this would bump Brock McGinn out of a spot. 

On defense, the scenario is the same. The Hurricanes have two spots that could go to outside players if they choose to make a trade. 

The only defenseman currently worth keeping that could be selected by Vegas is Justin Faulk. 

Klas Dahlbeck needs to be exposed to fulfill the defensive exposure requirement. 

After those two players, only two defensemen eligible to be selected on Carolina’s roster are not unrestricted free agents, those being Ryan Murphy and Trevor Carrick. Neither are ideal protection candidates, but as of now the Hurricanes do not have any other choice. 

To add to the oddity of the situation, Murphy has been in trade rumors for quite some time now. It is unlikely that he will be with Carolina at the start of next season. 

Scott Darling, who recently signed a four year deal with Carolina after being traded, will be protected in goal. 

The Hurricanes current protection list could look like this:

Forwards: Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask, Jordan Staal, Elias Lindholm, Teuvo Teravainen, Brock McGinn, Phillip Di Giuseppe

Defense: Justin Faulk, Trevor Carrick, Ryan Murphy

Goalie: Scott Darling 

The Hurricanes protection list could change a lot over the next few weeks. Ron Francis has a huge opportunity here to make a splash and acquire a talented player or two that would have otherwise been exposed by another team. 

Next team: Chicago Blackhawks

Kevin, @TheNHLFiles 

A match made in heaven? Colorado could have a perfect trading partner for Duchene 

Not much has been going right for the Colorado Avalanche this season, however they do have the chance to do now what other teams sometimes dream of: start over.

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Trade Possibility: Jordan Staal

As the Hurricanes continue in their transition period, another familiar name could be on the move. It has been reported that Jordan Staal has been shopped around, only months after brother Eric was dealt to the New York Rangers.  Read the rest of this entry

Analysis: Eric Staal traded to the Rangers 

As the Hurrianes fell further and further out of playoff contention, it became more clear that Eric Staal would be traded by the February 29th deadline. That happened on Sunday, about 26 hours before the deadline hit. 

The Hurricanes did not receive star prospect Pavel Buchnevich in the trade with the Rangers, however they did get forward prospect Aleksi Saarela and two second round picks. Saarela is a good two way player with 31 points in 46 games in the SM-Liiga this year. He was formerly a third round pick (2015) by the Rangers. 

Staal was the third captain to be traded this year, with Andrew Ladd and Dion Phaneuf prior. Staal has struggled recently in Carolina, but he still has 33 points in 63 games and Stanley Cup experience. Eric will join his brother Marc in the Big Apple. 

Analysis: 

I like this trade for both teams, but I’ll give the edge to Carolina. The Eric Staal era was over. They got a good prospect in Saarela, as well as two picks in the top-60 that they can use to improve their team or improve their prospect pool. 

The Rangers window is closing, so this deal does make sense in part. Staal still has the ability, whether or not he can hone it is the question. If he can return to a .75 to 1.0 point-per-game pace, the Rangers will be set up nicely. They need to win within the next two years though, because their prospect pool is extremely weak. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Carolina needs to bite the bullet and trade Eric Staal at the deadline, despite being in the playoff race 

The Carolina Hurricanes have had a good past two months and have now found themselves only two points out of the playoff race. No one expected them to be there, despite rolling with a good young core. Now, Ron Francis has some serious decisions to make regarding the present and future of his hockey club. 

The Hurricanes have ten unrestricted free agents to deal with this year: Cam Ward, John-Michael Liles, Kris Versteeg, Nathan Gerbe, Riley Nash, Brad Malone, Zach Boychuk, Drew MacIntyre, Derek Ryan, and captain Eric Staal. Notable restricted free agents include Chris Terry, Ryan Murphy, and Viktor Rask. Outside of a few names, none truly jump out as big contracts beside Eric Staal. The Hurricanes were expected to sell him at this trade deadline but the playoff race has made things all the more complicated. 

The Hurricanes are in that transition period. Just exiting the rebuild, but not quite there to be a contender. A lot of their core players are young players, like Hanifin, Faulk, Skinner, Lindholm, Nestrasil, and Lack. Eric Staal still has a spot on the team and is currently their second leading point-scorer (behind Justin Faulk and tied with Kris Versteeg) but it may be in the team’s best interest to trade him come February 29th. 

This doesn’t mean it is the end of the storyline, though. Staal could easily pull a move like Antoine Vermette or Matt Moulson did and re-sign with the team that traded him three months prior. Staal is due for a pay decrease from his 9.5 million dollar salary which is an odd case on its own. 

The Hurricanes have a good core of defensive prospects in Haydn Fleury, Roland McKeown, Noah Hanifin, and Brett Pesce amongst others. Dealing Staal for forwards prospects and or draft picks might be a good route to go since they are severely lacking in that prospect department. Add a few good forwards into the mix with that defensive core plus Alex Nedeljkovic in net and you have yourself a good team in two to three years. 

Let’s face it: the Carolina Hurricanes need a miracle and a half to make a deep run in the playoffs. Anomalies like the 2012 Los Angeles Kings or the 2006 Edmonton Oilers, where the eighth seed makes it to the Stanley Cup Finals, happen, but it is unlikely to happen for this Hurricanes team. 

Eric Staal would fetch a pretty penny on the trade market and he, his agent, and the organization need to realize this is the right short term plan for the team and it is not the end of the road for both of these parties. 

We will get a clearer look of how things will shake out as the trade deadline draws nearer. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Five players who haven’t lived up to early season expectations 

Thanksgiving has generally been the measuring stick for NHL teams on where they stand for their race to the playoffs, but this year may be different due to how close everyone is and how easily a spot can be stolen. However, the holiday is also a good spot to see where the players who make up your team stand. For some, this is a good sign. For many other players though, the time to turn it around is now. 

Jeff Skinner, Carolina

5 goals, 1 assist, -1 rating 

Skinner’s name has been surfaced in trade tumors over the past couple of years and his production has consistently dropped in that time. After an outstanding rookie year with 63 points, Skinner has only hit 50 points once in his three full seasons since. Albeit playing on a lackluster Hurricanes squad, the team still needs more out of their former seventh overall pick. Skinner is 23 and still could be moved before seasons end, and is currently on pace for 18 goals. 

Dougie Hamilton, Calgary

2 goals, 3 assists, -4 rating 

Many people were shocked when Boston traded the 22 year old defenseman to Calgary for a trio of picks this summer, but the transition hasn’t been smooth for Hamilton. An analytical atrocity last season, the Flames looked to shore up that issue in part with this acquisition, but not much has changed. Hamilton has struggled in both ends of the ice, and his offensive output simply hasn’t been on par with the .50 PPG pace he had last season. 

Michael Del Zotto, Philadelphia 

0 goals, 3 assists, -11 rating

After a resurgence in his career last season with 32 points, Michael Del Zotto has seemingly fallen back into regression, although he still has 3/4th of the season to make amends. The 20th overall pick in 2008 by the Rangers found his game with Philly last year after a stint in Nashville, but like most other Flyers defensemen he has been unable to keep up in both ends of the rink. The Flyers are dead last in the NHL for goals for and eighth in goals against, and they need contributions from their defense to get out of both of those slumps. 

Michael Raffl, Philadelphia 

1 goal, 2 assists, -3 rating 

After notching 21 goals last year, Raffl has flopped like most other Flyers forwards this year. Currently on pace for four goals on the year, the Austrian native needs to desperately pick his game up. 

Zegmus Girgensons, Buffalo

1 goal, 1 assist, -1 rating

Much like Raffl, Girgensons is only on track for four goals this year. Girgensons had 30 points last year, good enough to get voted into the all-star game by his Latvian countrymen. Not flashy numbers, but good for a defensively minded forward. Girgensons, like Hamilton and Skinner, is young (22 in January) and still has plenty of time to turn it around. 

This stretch at the beginning of the year is not the end all and be all for any of the players on this list or that could have made this list. With such close standings, many of the teams with players here can easily turn it around and make themselves into a contender. Three fourths of the season remain. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Trade Winds: Defensive Addition 

It’s hard to find a solid, NHL defenseman on the trade market before the deadline, let alone this early in the year. However, some options are there. Teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Carolina Hurricanes are looking for help on the blueline amongst others. None of the names available are flashy, but they can get the job done for any team desperate for help. 

The “biggest” name on the market as of today is Dennis Wideman. The 32 year old can still put up points with 56 last season and 6 assists in 12 games this season, but his contract is scaring other teams off. His teammate Kris Russell has also been linked to trade talks. Russell lead the league in blocked shots last year and is on good pace to do so this year again. Whether that’s indicative to Calgary’s play or Russell’s individual play, nobody will know unless a trade happens. 

Bob McKenzie also reported the other day that the services of Luke Schenn, Roman Polak, and Matt Carle are available for the right price. Schenn and Polak could be moved later in the year, but Carle is an interesting name. He’s been brutal this year for the Lightning but they are still a win-now team so the price could fluctuate for a guy like him. It’ll be interesting to see how his storyline progresses over the year. Carle has two season left on his contract after this year at 5.5 million per, which will significantly decrease his value if he doesn’t pick up his game. 

The Jets also have an abundance of defensemen. Dustin Byfuglien won’t be traded until later this year, but players such as Paul Potsma and Grant Clitsome (although he is currently hurt) may be in play. Clitsome is entering into the final year of his deal and Potsma has one year remaining after this season at a reasonable price. Neither player has seen any in game action this year which could scare some teams off. If it comes down to it, the risk would be worth taking because they don’t have the contractual issues some other options do. 

As the season progresses, we’ll get a clearer look at the standings to see who needs help and who doesn’t. Although it might not be for a defenseman, also keep an eye out for Anaheim and Ottawa to be exploring on the trade market soon. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Five Bold Predictions for the 2015-2016 NHL Season

The NHL season starts tonight, and each year something happens that makes all of us scratch our heads. Whether it’s a trade, firing, or odd standings movement, the league will look different than it did last year, just as last year looked different than two years ago. Some of the items on this list are much bolder than others – but here are five predictions for the upcoming hockey season.  Read the rest of this entry

Trades Highlight Day Two of 2015 NHL Draft

Although nothing will out-do the hours leading up to the draft yesterday, day two was no bust on the trade front. The GMs worked tirelessly to improve their teams whilst trying to find gems in the later round of the draft. Day two saw the trade of Cam Talbot finally, but still no Patrick Sharp or Phil Kessel. 
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Big Day: Winnik, Sekera, and Tlusty All Traded

Less than a week before the trade deadline, some pieces up for sale found their new and temporary homes. Wednesday afternoon, all in a matter of three hours of each other, Daniel Winnik, Andrej Sekera, and Jiri Tlusty were all traded. Tlusty heads out of Carolina and will joins the Jets, while Andrej Sekera also leaves Carolina and goes to Los Angeles. Daniel Winnik, one of Toronto’s bright spots this year, was traded to Pittsburgh.
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Could Buffalo Finish Above Carolina?

In the current NHL, when you hear ‘Buffalo’, you’re thinking dead last. Yes, Buffalo has gone into full rebuild mode, and at a good time with such a strong draft coming up. The Sabres have two second round picks in 2015, along with 3 first round pick.

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