Is there trade pressure for the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes?
In Friday’s edition of Daily Faceoff Live, Matt Larkin and Steven Ellis discuss the arms race for the Metropolitan Division and what it means for teams like the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils who come to see the New York Rangers acquire Vladimir Tarasenko, and the New York Islanders get Bo Horvat.
Matt Larkins: We have seen in the last two weeks that the Rangers have acquired Tarasenko and of course Bo Horvat going to the Islanders. So I wonder now if there is pressure in this division specifically for the Carolina Hurricanes and the New Jersey Devils. With all due respect, I don’t think Pittsburgh or Washington are on the same level. Do you feel obligated to answer the bell now if you’re in Carolina or New Jersey?
Steven Ellis: For sure. When I was making my first Stanley Cup picks, I picked the Rangers this summer, but then changed my mind to the Hurricanes. But obviously for the Hurricanes not having Pacioretty for much of the season hurt them and that’s a big void to fill. I think going out and getting a big free agent is kind of the goal here now. For the Devils, I’m a little cautious that they’re doing big business right now because I don’t think they have what it takes to go all the way and they need to focus on the future. With the prospects they have, this is a team that can do something long term and be competitive for a while. For the Hurricanes this is their window, they’ve been there for a few years and it’s time for them to take the next step and see the Rangers come out and get Tarasenko back, you need to act soon.
Matt Larkins: I think we are largely in agreement here. I think there’s a lot of pressure on the Canes and they have the highest point percentage in franchise history right now. They knocked on that door throughout the Rod Brind’Amour era, but they failed to break it down and make it to the Finals. So they have to answer the bell, especially because you’ve freed up the LTIR cap space and it’s $7 million with Pacioretty going there, so you have to weaponize that. I don’t know if that means a Timo Meier or maybe answering what you need most from a hockey perspective, which is a number two center. They lost Vincent Trochek to the New York Rangers and I just don’t think Jesperi Kotkaniemi or Paul Stastny can fill that void. It’s a big need, I wonder if the Canes are now kicking the tires on Ryan O’Reilly since it’s clear the Blues are in selling mode.
For the Devils, I agree with you but I think a lot depends on how healthy Jack Hughes is since battling this injury. So if he’s injured all bets are off, but if he’s okay I think there’s potential to get a piece that can help you beyond this season. If you’re the Devils and you can get a guy like Meier down a line with Nico Hischier, take that big swing. Otherwise, I tend to agree with you, I think this team is just starting its competitive window for the Stanley Cup.
You can watch the full episode here…