Carolina Hurricanes Could Indirectly Affect Playoff Races In 2015-16

By Nick Villano
Kelvin Kuo - USA Today Sports
Kelvin Kuo – USA Today Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes will not be good this season. They aren’t where they need to be as a franchise to even fake being contenders for any stretch. That being said, they could decide who wins the Stanley Cup this season. No, not by a clutch win at the end of the season that keeps a good team out or by accidentally hurting a star player. The way they will decide the fate of playoff races is through trade.

The first piece that will pay major dividends to some team is Cam Ward. He is going to get traded at some point this season. He is on the last year of his contract, paying him well over $6 million this season. There were whispers that the Hurricanes wanted to re-sign him, but this season may have Ward see the writing on the wall for this team’s future. He showed last season that he hasn’t lost his skill, despite the injuries he was dealing with. Imagine if Ward gets traded to a club like the St. Louis Blues. That could decide the Cup right there. Of course, Ward needs to waive his no-trade clause before he goes anywhere.

The other big piece of this trade puzzle would be the Staal brothers. Jordan Staal and Eric Staal have not been on a good team together, so they could be traded as a package deal. A team that needs a major offensive punch and is willing to part with a major prospect can have the Staal brothers if they want to be Cup contenders again. Eric Staal takes pride in being the face of the Hurricanes, but with uncertainty for the franchise’s future in Carolina he could want out. He is also in the final year of his deal.

There could be other moves coming from Carolina, but these two would be the biggest. They would shake up the NHL and could change the fate of the playoffs. The Hurricanes will not make the playoffs this year, but they can take solace in the fact that they are still in control of who might win.

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