Breaking down the Carolina Hurricanes ahead of NHL Trade Deadline Day.
The Carolina Hurricanes will be: Sellers or spectators
Pending free agents
Unrestricted: 10 | Restricted: 16 | See full list
When the Hurricanes locked up Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin to long-term deals in 2012, there was no chance GM Jim Rutherford could have foreseen how things have panned out over the last season and a half.
Cam Ward and other key players have had to deal with various injuries, but even with a relatively-healthy roster, the team has underwhelmed. Carolina is only a few points back from a playoff spot entering the final stretch of the season, but so are several other Eastern Conference teams. The Hurricanes would have to jump a handful of teams to make the post-season dance.
Their top defenceman, Joni Pitkanen, has been out the entire season and it definitely hurt them on the back end. However, the biggest problem plaguing this Hurricanes team is their inability to score. No Hurricane is producing at a point-per-game rate and the depth players haven’t been able to support the team’s stars with supplemental offence.
|Click player positions to see depth chart|
Areas to address
The Hurricanes can put together a pretty solid top two forward lines, but their bottom six leaves much to be desired. Eric and Jordan Staal are terrific first- and second-line centres, respectively, and with skilled wingers like Jeff Skinner, Nathan Gerbe, Jiri Tlusty and Elias Lindholm, there is lots of potential for the near future.
One problem the Hurricanes are dealing with is a couple of big contracts for players that are under producing. Alexander Semin ($7-million cap hit) and Tuomo Ruutu ($4.75-million cap hit) are not earning their salaries. The Hurricanes might not be actively looking to ship these players out of town, but they certainly should be listening to offers. Carolina could also get decent return for Andrej Sekera, but he’s been one of the team’s bright spots this season.
Bottom line is Carolina needs to fill out its bottom-six forwards and make improvements on the blue line. However, if Rutherford and team management feel like they’ve got a realistic shot at the post-season, there’s a good chance they sit on their hands and do nothing at the NHL Trade Deadline.
Possible trade chips
Anton Khudobin (Re-signed)
NHL Trade Deadline needs: Full list for all 30 NHL teams