Cover Photo Credit Gregg Forwerck, Carolina Hurricanes.
So I put on my GM hat to help solve the biggest questions in the offseason. We know that GM Ron Francis will be making moves at certain positions this offseason, but nothing really specific. Below are my thoughts (some good, some not) on how to compete this offseason.
Who Goes? Eddie Lack or Cam Ward
The addition of Scott Darling has created some crowding in the crease in Raleigh and somebody has got to go. I don’t see either Ward or Lack getting picked up in the expansion draft because this team just doesn’t have that type of luck. The Canes should be able to move one of them but will need to be prepared to retain some of their salary. While this isn’t ideal, it should be cheaper than buying out the final year of their contracts.
So who stays? Your guess is as good as mine. Does it really matter? Lack has a better shot of being a starter (if not his last shot) than Cam at this point in their careers. I say hold on to Cam and hope he is able to be the goalie we saw in the beginning of the 2016-2017 campaign. They should try and allow him to get between 20-30 starts throughout the season to stay sharp. A rusty Cam Ward could be worse than a tired Cam Ward.
Who Are We Drafting?
So I went through a lot of mock drafts and I saw a lot of names being floated around. It’s the 12th pick so it’s sort of difficult to get to excited for some of the names. I don’t know what sort of trades the club has up their sleeves so lets just assume they hold on to the pick. I’ve settled on two names: Martin Necas and EEli Tolvanen.
Do I know anything about these guys? No, I’m not a prospect guy. Both are forwards and can probably help the club in 2-4 years. Guess what? We need to get it done now. However, I need to pick a guy. I read Tolvanen is committed to Boston College. That’s right up JFK’s alley. Yea, so lets go with Tolvanen.
Which Forward Should We Target In The Offseason?
Lots of names have been floated around and to be honest none of them are all that impressive. My hope has been that Julien Gauthier and Nicolas Roy could step and fill that void. That’s sort of being naive. Even if they could, we wouldn’t know their impact until the season starts. So the Canes are going to have to go and pick up somebody either through trade or free agency.
Matt Duchene has been discussed a lot over the last eight months. It’d be great to have him and would be an upgrade, but at what cost? Noah Hanifin? It could be worth the gamble.
The free agent market has some “big” names such as T.J. Oshie and Alexander Radulov. My concern with these guys is they’ll be expensive and past 30 years old. We need veteran leadership but we don’t need to overpay.
I say roll the dice on Duchene even if the cost is Hanifin and a high round pick. It’s not the ideal trade, but it’s do or die time for the front office. Make a big splash, invigorate the fan base, and hope for the best.