Trade 3: We Want All the Defense
February 24, 2020, was a very busy day for the Carolina Hurricanes. Six days after sending Gauthier to the Big Apple, Waddell made another trade with the Rangers:
|To Carolina:||To NYR:|
|D Brady Skjei||2020 1st round pick|
For the second time that day, the Hurricanes added an offensively-inclined defenseman. In 307 games with the Rangers, Skjei posted 25 goals and 112 points. The knock on him during his time on Broadway was that his defensive game wasn’t up to snuff, something that the Rangers—in the midst of a rebuild—could do without.
The pick, one of two 1st rounders that Carolina held after acquiring Toronto’s in the Patrick Marleau trade, wasn’t done moving. The Rangers traded the pick to Calgary who then traded it to Washington. The Capitals actually used the pick and selected center Hendrix Lapierre. New York didn’t miss out at the draft, however: they won the first overall pick via the draft lottery and selected Alexis Lafreniere.
Skjei appeared in 7 games for the Hurricanes after the trade, averaging over 20 minutes per game and picking up 1 assist. His ice time increased in the postseason and he added 2 assists in 8 games. His biggest impact came early in the play-in round where he laid a thunderous hit on then former/now current teammate Jesper Fast. He’s dressed in all 6 Hurricanes games in 2021, picking up 1 assist while averaging over 21 minutes per game.
Trade 4: Center Depth (and a New Fan Favorite)
The final trade that the Carolina Hurricanes made on February 24 involved multiple players being sent to the Florida Panthers in exchange for some much-needed depth down the middle:
|To Carolina:||To Florida:|
|C Vincent Trocheck||LW Erik Haula|
|C Lucas Wallmark|
|C Eetu Luostarinen|
|D Chase Priskie|
If you only look at the number of pieces, it would appear that Florida won the trade hands-down. A deeper look, however, shows that not only did the Carolina Hurricanes get the best player at the time of the trade, they also did a better job of addressing their needs.
I was a big fan of the Haula addition heading into 2019-20 and, early on, things looked good. Haula made every effort to set up shop in front of the opposing netminder and was rewarded with a goal in each of the team’s first 3 games. When Carolina hit the 10-game mark, Haula had already picked up 7 goals and 1 assist, putting him on a very nice pace for the year.
Unfortunately, everything got derailed. Injuries struck first, limiting Haula’s games played. This was followed by rumors that the winger didn’t see eye to eye with head coach Rod Brind’Amour. Through the next 31 games he played with the Hurricanes, Haula managed just 5 goals and 14 points. Following the trade, he appeared in 7 games for the Panthers, picking up 2 assists. During the offseason, Haula signed with Nashville and, in 9 games with the Predators, has put up 3 assists.
Wallmark, a fan favorite in Raleigh thanks to his tireless work ethic, also appeared in 7 games with the Panthers, scoring 1 goal and adding 1 assist. Prior to the 2021 season, he signed with the Chicago Blackhawks and has appeared in 5 games while picking up 3 assists.
Luostarinen, a 2nd round pick of the Hurricanes in 2017, had 1 assist in 8 games with Carolina prior to the trade. While he didn’t play in any games for the Panthers immediately after the deal, he’s posted 2 goals and 1 assist in 6 games for Florida so far in 2021.
Priskie, a former Washington Capitals draft pick, became a hot commodity after not coming to an agreement with the team on a contract. He eventually signed with the Hurricanes and looked good in the AHL. Over 52 games with the Checkers, Priskie picked up 6 goals and 31 points. Despite the promise, he has yet to plan in an NHL game. A Florida native, Priskie may finally get the chance to with the Panthers, the team he grew up watching.
For the life of me, I cannot figure out why Florida was ready to let go of Vincent Trocheck. Over 420 games with the franchise, Trocheck notched 111 goals and 282 points while playing a solid all-around game. No, he’s not the flashiest guy on the ice, but he is absolutely the type of guy that winning teams want. He can do it all and do it well.
In the 7 games following the trade, Trocheck appeared in 7 games with the Hurricanes and picked up 1 goal and 1 assist. He added 2 assists in 8 postseason games to go along with 12 hits, 9 blocked shots, and 9 takeaways. So far this season, he’s racked up 4 goals and 6 points through 6 games, including a 2 goal, 1 assist effort against the Dallas Stars in the first game of a 2-game series.