As per a report on NHL.com, “The Carolina Hurricanes could look to trade one of their goalies for help in other areas ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline on April 12.” The report suggests that general manager Don Waddell told The Athletic that he’s potentially got a surplus of viable backstops and, at the same time, a need to improve on the blue line.
With Alex Nedeljkovic and James Reimer splitting games while Petr Mrazek has been away, Carolina needed what they could muster out of the combination. They’ve absolutely delivered. But, with Mrazek close to returning and the Hurricanes with limited cap space, Waddell hints he might use one of netminders as a trade chip.
The Hurricanes are currently battling it out with the Tampa Bay Lightning for top spot in the Discover Central Division and most assume the Hurricanes will be a buyer as the deadline approaches. We’ve already learned that certain rentals aren’t high on Waddell’s priority list as the team had talks with the Buffalo Sabres about Eric Staal but ultimately decided not the pay the price the Montreal Canadiens did. When it comes to the Hurricanes blue line, there might be more going on.
Waddell suggested he could keep all three goalies, but suggested he’d like to add a right-shot defenseman to his blueline corps. The GM said, “We don’t have a lot of [NHL salary] cap space. If we’re going to do something at the trade deadline, maybe one of the chips is one of our goalies. I can’t say which one. It depends.”
All Three Hurricanes Goalies Have Been Excellent
Nedeljkovic is 8-2-2 with a 2.05 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and two shutouts in 12 starts. Reimer is 12-4-1 with a 2.68 GAA and .909 save percentage in 17 games (16 starts). Those are good numbers across the board. Mrazek played four games before his injury Jan. 30 but had a 0.99 GAA, .955 save percentage and two shutouts. To say the decision of which to move will be difficult is an understatement.
It could come down to money. The team has a little room on the cap but of the three goalies there’s a big discrepancy when it comes to salaries as Nedeljkovic makes $737,500 compared to the other two who make over $3 million per season. Nedeljkovic is also an RFA which makes him the most attractive option based on cost and that he gives the acquiring team some control, but it’s also a reason the Hurricanes might not want to move him.
It makes more sense for the Canes’ to move one of Mrazek or Reimer as both are pending UFAs. If there’s a taker out there for their contracts, one of them is likely to not be back with the team next season and the Hurricanes could add an asset of value.
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