With the playoffs in the conference finals and almost all the coaching vacancies filled, now we start to hear the whispers of who might be available on the market. Elliotte Friedman in his 31 thoughts columns weekly mentions who might available. Same with Larry Brooks, but unless that info comes from the team, it has to be taken with a grain of salt.
Carolina, under a new coach, GM and ownership, appears ready to talk almost every player on their roster. Armed with the second pick, the Hurricanes can accelerate the rebuild by moving certain players. Bob McKenzie on TSN 1050 on Monday said:
There’s one guy on the team that they’re not prepared to trade—Sebastian Aho. Everybody else, everybody else is available. [Jeff] Skinner, you name it. Skinner’s getting moved, I would think.
Everybody except for Aho. I think [Justin] Faulk’s very much in play, I think Skinner’s very much in play. Hey listen, there’s some guys who whenever they say there’s only one untouchable, obviously there’s a sliding scale of value where the price coming back the other way has to be off the charts.
Skinner had been mentioned to the Rangers in the past, at least in terms of a possible target to provide secondary scoring. His production and play fell off last season, as he dropped from 37 to 24 goals and fell to a minus-24 for the season. However, that decline can be partially attributed to a start drop in his shooting percentage, as he fell from a 13.2 to 8.7 success rate. With one year left on his six-year, $34.5 million deal, Skinner, despite the drop in output, won’t lack for suitors. In the past, injuries, especially concussions were a concern. But he has played 82, 79 and 82 games the past three seasons, alleviating those concerns.
For New York, even if you believe that they plan to be in a quicker than originally indicated rebuild plan, obtaining Skinner for one-year likely makes little sense. As a rental, there is a strong possibility that Skinner will be one and done in New York. Now, if the organization felt confident they could acquire and sign Skinner to let’s say a 2-3 year extension, maybe that would make sense. But to trade for him and then lose him, especially when the team is potentially looking at a rebuilding campaign makes little sense. But let’s say New York was alll in to acquire Skinner, what would you deal? Would you trade one of the later first round picks? Is that enough for Carolina? What about a pair of picks or a pick and a player?
If Carolina truly is in a revamp mode, the player I would love to get is Teuvo Terevainen. But I presume some players are way more available then others. Teravainen woukd require a material haul to acquire, making him somewhat untouchable. Up front, Elias Lindholm is probably the second Carolina player I would love because I still believe he has just scratched the surface of how good he can be. At worst, he will be a consistent 45-point, second or third line player who can shift between center and wing. As an RFA looking at a decent rise in salary and potential long-term deal, he quite likely is available, especially if his stature in the ‘Canes organization has fallen off a bit.
The big names that will be on every one’s lips after calling Carolina will be their blueliners. Justin Faulk is probably at the top of that list. Sighed to a six-year, $29 million extension in March 2014, Faulk’s output and play has steadily declined the past three seasons. Part of that may be due to his surroundings. But with Noah Hanifin, Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce also in Carolina, the Hurricanes will deal from their strength on the blue line to fill other needs. Faulk is the biggest name and first one probably to go. Three years ago, we all would have been first in line to try and acquire him if he was available. Now, do you still feel the same? Would you want New York to acquire him? Would you deal a pick and someone like Vladislav Namestnikov or Ryan Spooner for Faulk? Would that be enough for Carolina? Is Faulk, who as a right-handed defenseman would fill a definite gap in New York, someone who still peaks your interest?
To me, the order of likelihood of getting traded by Carolina is Faulk, Hanifin, Slavin and Pesce. Slavin and Pesce each just signed long-term deals last off-season, making them less likely to go. The length of the deals and $ are not draconian but I believe Carolina will try and build around players who can be in the organization long-term. Hanifin, whose ELC just expired, has been rumored to be on the block, but that was more to improve the team than a declaration of his ability. His progress has been steady since arriving in the NHL and there is a lot more to his game that has yet to come out. Why I think he should be the least likely to go but would bring back the biggest return of Carolina moved him.
What say you? Would you want Skinner and at what cost? The same with the Carolina blue line?