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Carolina And Vegas’ Similar Situations Could Set Up Win-Win Trade

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the third straight year, the Carolina Hurricanes entered the season with legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations. A roster chock-full of talent, one of the best coaches in the league, and a strong home-ice atmosphere had many experts picking the Canes not only before the season began but also heading into the playoffs.

Carolina set franchise records with 116 points and 54 wins in the regular season and cruised to a division title, their second straight. They had multiple 30 goal scorers, 11 players reach double-digit goals, and 14 with at least 28 points. Plus, they’d been getting strong goaltending from Freddie Andersen.

Then, the playoffs came, they won a round (albeit not as easily as expected) and then flamed out in the same way they had the year before and the year before that. A team that was built on a balanced offensive attack, tremendous defense, and good goaltending had bowed out in the 2nd round for the third season in a row. The scoring dried up, the depth was exposed, and the goaltending couldn’t save the day (this year due to injury more than anything else).

It all sounds so familiar, doesn’t it?

Of course, the Golden Knights and Hurricanes are not all that similar in their construction nor in the way they’ve operated as an organization, and the problems facing each team are vastly different heading into this offseason, but there are enough similarities that could make a perfect partner for each other this summer.

Carolina have plenty of decisions to make on important players like Nino Niederreiter, Vincent Trocheck, Max Domi, Tony DeAngelo, Martin Necas, and Ethan Bear. Lucky for them, they have much more cap space to do it than the team we cover on this site.

But, like the Golden Knights, they can’t simply bring everyone back and expect the results to be different this time around. They could use some sort of a shake up and they’ll want to do it by brining in usable Cup-contending pieces.

I always think we’re good. It’s just, do we have elite goal scorers? Maybe not, but we have great players. We’re built a little differently than some teams. -Rod Brind’Amour, CAR coach

While Vegas’ issue has also been goal scoring, the acquisition of Jack Eichel may allow the front office to look towards a player like Max Pacioretty or Jonathan Marchessault as expendable, and the Canes might be the perfect fit.

In return, Carolina is stocked up on young talent, both that have broken through at the NHL level, and who haven’t. What the Golden Knights really need is a player on an entry-level contract that can come in and contribute at a high-level next year. Seth Jarvis obviously jumps off the page after his stellar year and excellent postseason, but realistically it might cost an elite goal-scorer plus a 1st round pick to pry him away.

Noel Gunler, Ryan Suzuki, and Jamieson Rees are three players all potentially ready to break through and Ville Koivunen is maybe the most expeciting prospect in their pool that may take an extra year but could be a game-changer.

It would be an enormous risk for each of these teams to make what would essentially be a hockey deal as opposed to the Golden Knights trying to shed cap by doing the least damage to the roster or the Canes looking to add by using futures, but it could be exactly what one or both of these teams need.

Something must change in both Vegas and Carolina if they ever expect to get over the hump and the change probably needs to be of fairly great significance rather than working around the edges. Maybe the answer isn’t preying on the teams with the most cap space or in rebuild mode, maybe it’s finding someone in a similiar situation and shuffling the deck a bit between the two franchises.


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  1. Chris

    Mr. Boehlke, I enjoy reading your posts and sometimes the following comments. I’m not an online opinionated person usually. This is my 2nd post in the history of internet. Not to take anything away from this post, but if I may be so bold, I would like to know your stats and opinions on the strength and conditioning coaches of our team. Are these injuries avoidable? I understand there are variables(age, prior injury history, diet,blindsided, wrong place wrong time, things like this. Game plans, positioning. Flukes.) As of today I think the priority should be hiring the best damn strength, conditioning coaches and dieticians moving forward. Consider the ages of some of our guys. That 32 year old needs to work harder at being in the best condition than the 22 year old. And I don’t mean bulk up either. It may be I’m waaay off here, I don’t know the inner working perhaps like some of you do, but I would like to get your opinion on this. Im not a hugeDeboer fan, but I kinda feel like it didn’t matter who was coach last year. Any coach would have failed this past season with what we had to deal with. Let’s be honest. I do think to go through what we did throughout the season and come up short is pretty darn good! I have a hard time thinking if most guys were healthy there’s no doubt we make the playoffs! I’m biased we would finish first. Go Knights Go! If our players were to remain healthy for an entire season, I don’t think it matters who the coach is either! Anyway, I’ll end it here. I would like your stats if they are available and your opinion on strength and conditioning coaching please. And if you do write an article on this in advance, not necessary, but thank you.

    • I completely understand the concern and I’m not saying you are wrong, but my biggest hesitation in blaming the training staff is the fact that they’ve been here all five years. It’s been the same group, headed up by the same guy (Jay Mellette) the entire time. They’ve never had these issues before so why all of a sudden are the methods they’re using off base?

      To me, it’s a combination of a number of factors. The biggest one is simply luck. The Golden Knights didn’t have it last year. However, I wouldn’t bet my entire season on being lucky. Next is the age of their players. A lot of them are getting older and have played a lot of hockey, the bodies are eventually going to break down. Finally, I think the injury issue was overblown to a degree because VGK purposely put themselves in the situation to have the injuries. When one guy got hurt (Stone) they added another guy who was hurt (Eichel). When Eichel was ready, Stone had to sit out. When Stone was ready, others had to be out to keep the roster in tact. Here’s the story I wrote on that.

      All in all though, there’s no doubt the training staff will be on thin ice this season. If it happens again, they’ll be shown the door. But, 4 prior years of relatively good health gives them a free pass on this one… at least for me.

      • Bob m

        Ken , I believe our problems are definitely the thought of buying a Stanley Cup not earning it. Probably caused by year one success and Foley’s desire to bring us a cup quickly.
        I have no confidence in McCrimmon.
        He does not step up and admit his plan will not work and the future is in dire straights without some big changes.
        (Quit planning on injuries to overcome cap issues.)
        Some unpopular changes need to be made …get us under the cap and get us some youth and lower cost third and fourth line players.

  2. Chuckles

    Hockey better than playing hookey (sic?) for a year. The hockey gods have been very very good. Why still Clarence Campbell? We cry why they call a Conference the Whales? Thought the Whalers were being reintroduced. Whalers never had a Finals trophy. Although Hartford AHL may be another story. Just simply call them the Gretzkys or Howes After all no more Smythe(weren’t they a rock group), plus Norris Adams and Patrick a SNAP.

  3. Richie-Rich

    The only moves VGK needs to make are …

    1. Fire McCrimmon
    2. Hire a new GM and let him select the new HC
    3. Get under the Cap, which means likely losing Dadanov, Smith, and possibly one other asset for picks or AHL prospects.

    That’s it other than getting healthy.

  4. Just thank God we are not Sabres fans. Imagine just knowing your going to get your ass kicked every year. All those first round picks and nobody produces. It bothered me trading Tuch and Krebs, it hurt. Here is the bottom line, if Eichel doesn’t produce, fire the 2 Mac’s. When I mean produce, one of the top 3 or 4 guys in the league. No more trading our young guys or draft picks, we need younger guys coming up. I hope Stone comes back 100%, we need him badly. I still like our guys, but no more bad luck, maybe take it easy preseason, hell, it’s such a roll of the dice. By the way, watch out for Buffalo, their a little dangerous.

  5. Chris

    Thank you for the response Mr. Boehlke. I was wondering which direction this might go. Thank you for your time. Well just a thought anyway on my part. I hope our luck will change for the better next season. Maybe I’ll chime in in another 20years. Until then, keep up the good work, and Go Knights Go!

    • Chris, do not wait 20 years to post again!! We like new opinions, perspectives!! And you seem POSITIVE, unlike so many who just want to bash the team!

  6. Obvious

    Training staff on thin ice….. of course. My god what’s next? Too much butter on the popcorn??

    Nothing is changing as long as fat bastard and McMoron are still running the show and 2 faced foley keeps lieing to fans

  7. Juanita Mohr

    I am sure the team is working hard to get and stay healthy. I would not want to see the team trade any more good players because of a bad season. I wouldn’t like to see Pacioretty gone. I think the team needs him. We also need captain Mark Stone. Now that his back is fixed he is a valuable player. There are only two players I would not miss if they left. One is. Jack Eickel. When he was ready to play we lost Stone. That was a big mistake on Kelly’s part. I don’t think Jack played up to what was expected from him.
    After all he is the highest paid player. I wouldn’t mind a goalie change also. I was also surprised that Kelly McCrimmon was not let go. A hoped coach PD would get another chance. Anyway that is my opinion. Thank for letting me express it.

  8. THE hockey GOD

    most spoiled fan base in NHL

    the usual suspects with their inane comments.

    Canes can get value for their players, the VGK has nothing to offer but damaged goods.

    vGK BOOM went BUST due to poor plan set forth by the grape stomper, has nothing to do with coaching, FO, or training staff. The Stomper put forth the directive. The FO responded, and the SToMPER signed OFF on everything. His inexperience showed when he promised MAF to retire in VEGAS. The STOMPER is laughing stock of NHL. It’s pretty obvious.

    Bust years are coming, LAK and DUCKS are getting better. The Canucks not far behind. Yet VGK is LIGHT YEARS behind the best in conference>OILERS AND AVS.

    • Tim

      THG, I know this is going to stun you but I agree with every point you made I predict 5th place finish in the Pacific.

  9. Sandman

    Who is the stomper and why.? If it’s mccrimmon then yes I agree as well as McPhee Handed the keys to a Bentley and turned it into a Taurus.
    Then they drop coaches like last weeks garbage to cover their ineptitude. Now they scramble to be a top tier team and screw up developing their own players to buy older “stars” after their treatment of both players and coaches I can’t cheer for them at all.

  10. Doc

    VGK are cup contenders. They just have to get prospects for the guys they will trade to get under the cap. If I had my druthers Dadonov, Marchie and Lehner would be shipped out for picks and prospects.

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