With the early season movements of Tomas Kaberle and Alexei Ponikarovsky and the Hurricanes placing Anthony Stewart on waivers Monday, all signs point to the Hurricanes making noise at the trade deadline at the end of February. Jim Rutherford has already set the bar high on the price tag for forward Tuomo Ruutu and plenty of teams are biting at the offers. Here is some early expectations of what to expect the next few weeks.
One of the problems the Hurricanes will face heading into the trade deadline is meeting all requirements of the NHL Salary Cap including not going below the salary floor which is $16 million below the leagues maximum salary cap. This years maximum salary cap in the NHL is 64.3 million meaning the Hurricanes can’t go below 48.3 million dollars. Currently the Hurricanes are at 50.6 million dollars. With that being said, the Hurricanes are gonna be expected to take on some veteran players with hefty contracts in order to get the maximum out of their players at the deadline.
Tuomo Ruutu, Forward, $4.4 million
Statistics: Ruutu currently leads all Hurricanes players in Goals an Hits. He is a gritty grinder and doesn’t mind always finishing off his checks as his statistics show, finishing 2nd in the league in Hits in the 2010-2011 season.
Teams Interested: Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks
Realistic Trade Expectations: Judging by the past trade deadlines this Ruutu trade will more then likely be the biggest trade of the draft. Judging by teams in the running such as the Kings who are infamous for giving up a 1st round pick and more for Dustin Penner who has yet to live up to the standards, or the Blackhawks where Ruutu began his career, there are many different scenarios for Ruutu.
The Verdict: Ruutu and a 2012 4th round pick for a 2012 2nd round pick, Top prospect, and a veteran defenseman.
Bryan Allen, Defenseman, $3.15 million
Statistics: Leads the Hurricanes in Blocked Shots, 3rd in Time on Ice, 2nd in Shorthanded Time on Ice, and Penalty Minutes.
Teams Interested: Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks
Realistic Trade Expectations: Allen is easily a top four caliber defenseman pairing and a veteran at that. The Flyers have let it be known they are looking for a veteran defenseman and Allen could fit with the Flyers. He doesn’t mind dropping the gloves to defend his teammates and he is a team player all the way.
The Verdict: Bryan Allen to Philadelphia for Andreas Lilja, a prospect, and a 2012 3rd round pick
Jaroslav Spacek, Defenseman, 3.83 million
Statistics: Missed 25 games to various injuries this season
Teams Interested: N/A
Realistic Trade Expectations: Spacek was traded to the Hurricanes this year in the trade that sent Kaberle packing to Montreal. Spacek has not played bad hockey for the Hurricanes at all but the truth is, does a 37 year old hockey player in the downfall of his career want to spend another season for a rebuilding team or spend time trying to win his first Stanley Cup? Facts are there, and all signs point to Spacek not resigning in Carolina so he could be sent packing at the deadline for cheap.
The Verdict: Spacek is no where near the value of Kaberle and Montreal walks away with a steal of a trade even if Kaberle had a bad run with the Hurricanes. But in retrospect, don’t expect the Hurricanes to get anything higher than a 3rd and a prospect for Spacek.
You can follow Sterling Eby on Twitter @TheSterlo