I don’t know if there’s anything more that needs to be said about yesterday’s game. It was a weird, incredible game to watch that everyone will remember for a very long time. However, in the aftermath, the Carolina Hurricanes are now left without Brett Pesce and James Reimer for an extended period and we don’t know when Petr Mrazek will be back. With the Hurricanes fighting for a playoff spot, moves need to be made.
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston said he believes the Chicago Blackhawks will be willing to move one of their goaltenders and obviously, Carolina would be the perfect partner for a deal. My suggestion? Make the trade for Robin Lehner then pay him what it takes to keep him long-term. We still don’t know if Chicago will be able to re-sign Lehner and with a good enough offer, he could likely be acquired due to the uncertainty of his future in Chicago. Goaltending has been a problem for the Hurricanes and it’s one of the things that’s holding them back from truly contending. Fix the problem once and for all.
He has a .918 save percentage with the Blackhawks this season and the same SV% over his career. He’s capable of being a quality starting goalie in the league and at 28 years old, he’s still young enough to be given a contract in the five-year range. Corey Crawford, while still solid, isn’t a long-term solution for the Hurricanes and would simply act as a stop-gap. Sure, Carolina could also decide to roll with Anton Forsberg and Alex Nedeljkovic for the time being but neither is at the top of their game in the AHL right now and we have no idea how they’d perform upon being called up.
The situation on defense is a bit more complicated. The Hurricanes already have their two right-handed defenders for the years to come, they’re just not available right now. But if Carolina goes the rental route, they’re giving up assets in a season where there’s still a chance they could miss the playoffs. On the other hand, trade for a right-shot defender with term and not only are you paying more for him, you’d then have three right-handed defenders on the books for next season. Regardless, the possibility of trying to work with the defenders they had when it was just Dougie Hamilton out is no longer an option for the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes do have two first-round picks and if I’m taking a guess, they’ll be down to one by the time the deadline passes. Luckily, they do have the assets to make the moves they need to make but with the clock ticking, we’ll see what those assets can bring back.
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OTHER ARTICLES FROM FEBRUARY
Could adding a defenseman affect Hamilton's long-term future in Carolina?
Hurricanes trade Julien Gauthier to Rangers, acquire Joey Keane
Hurricanes need more secondary scoring
Gardiner is taking advantage of increased role