With 22 points from 33 games, it is time for the Carolina Hurricanes to look toward the future. Will they be in play for the first pick at next year’s draft, also known as the Connor McDavid sweepstakes?
They should stay near the bottom of the league, so it is time to set up the trade board for the coming months. Do they trade away signature players and completely change the direction of the franchise? The Hurricanes will be asking for some assistance from Santa in answering that question.
One big piece of the team, Jay Harrison, was already traded away. He was shipped to the Winnipeg Jets after five and a half years with the Hurricanes. Harrison was getting less ice time as Carolina has moved to getting young players into the lineup. This could be the first trade of many that sees longtime fixtures of the organization with large salaries being shipped to other teams.
Now is the time for GM Ron Francis to make the decision on the roster makeup. No one could argue if he asked for some help as his Christmas wish.
Andrej Sekera and Jiri Tlusty will most likely be traded for draft picks. However, it is players like Cam Ward and Eric Staal who will have teams circling. Ward has another year left on his contract, so the goalie may stay. Staal has another year on his deal as well, but the team needs a new direction. Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer also mentions Jeff Skinner as another player who could be shipped, signifying a change in philosophy.
These decisions will not be as easy to make as the Harrison trade. The NHL has a roster freeze over Christmas, so it’s a good time for Francis to decide if Staal, Ward or Skinner are available and at what cost. The phones in the Hurricanes’ front office will be ringing plenty when the freeze lifts on December 27. Luckily for Francis, this is a good time of year to ask for help.