NHL Rumors: Hurricanes eyeing trades, Ducks crossroads, and Eichel’s return

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The NHL Rumor Mill has been fairly focused on three big names as of late. One is unrestricted free agent Evander Kane, as both he and interested teams await where the NHL’s probe into his latest issue lands. Also two defensemen dominate chatter with John Klingberg and Jakob Chychrun taking center stage.

However, the NHL Trade Deadline is two months away and clarity among playoff teams are beginning to show. Let’s dive in further by starting with a definite contender.

NHL Rumors: Hurricanes scouring the market for trades

The Carolina Hurricanes came into the season as one of the top Stanley Cup contenders. They are right up there with the Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Florida Panthers.

While the Golden Knights already made the biggest trade of the season by acquiring Jack Eichel, the Hurricanes have been aggressively shopping in preparation for the deadline.

“The Hurricanes are all over the market,” TFP’s David Pagnotta said. “Donny Waddell and his staff are looking around to see exactly who’s available, what are the price tags, and how this might be a fit for their particular team.”

According to Pagnotta, the Canes have asked about Chychrun and Klingberg. Jeff Marek of Sportsnet also linked Carolina to Klingberg. From what I can tell, they appear to be the favorites to land him.

Carolina has very little cap space, which will be helped by doing trades closer to the deadline. However, any move of significance will likely mean money going out the other way and possible salary retention by the trading team.

Two potential Canes’ contracts that could be moved are pending UFA’s, Nino Niederreiter and Vincent Trocheck.

Ducks coming to a crossroads

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Mar 8, 2021; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Rickard Rakell (67) celebrates his goal with the bench during the first period against the Los Angeles Kings at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

One team that was not supposed to be in contention are the Anaheim Ducks. Yet here they are tied for second in the Pacific Division. Unfortunately, they’ve also lost three in a row and have just a five point cushion over the Flames for the last Wild Card spot.

When the March 21 Trade Deadline arrives, the Ducks will face some key decisions on their own pending UFAs. Here’s who could be available:

  • Rickard Rakell (F)
  • Ryan Getzlaf (F)
  • Josh Manson (D)
  • Hampus Lindholm (D)

If the Ducks hold is firm on a playoff position, they will likely keep all their players as their own rentals. One player that won’t be moved is Getzlaf. He has made it clear that he wants to remain in Anaheim.

Golden Knights looking at potential moves ahead of Eichel’s return

Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley recently told the “Vegas Hockey Hotline Podcast” that Jack Eichel is just “weeks away” from making his debut after neck surgery.

Of course, the team will have to find ways to fit him under the cap when he returns from LTIR. With Max Pacioretty still injured there is no immediate rush.

“We’re going to have to make some adjustments, but we do have a lot of guys that are kind of hurt,” Foley said via NHL.com. “And we’re kind of looking at that and making sure we don’t do something prematurely with whoever’s hurt and when they come back. We’ve had bad luck this year in terms of people getting injured. So, we do have a plan, some alternatives, but we’re trying to hold off until we just really see how the injuries sort out over the next 25-30 days.”

One player that Vegas would like to retain is pending UFA Reilly Smith. He has a $5M cap hit and is considered the most likely cap casualty. Depending on when Pacioretty and Eichel return, he could be kept for their expected long playoff run.