Are the Carolina Hurricanes and the Montreal Canadiens talking trade with less than two weeks to go until the March 21 NHL Trade Deadline?
A trusted NHL source has confirmed to Montreal Hockey Now that the Hurricanes have been and will continue to scout the Canadiens when they return home from their trip out west and play four of their next five games leading into the NHL Trade deadline at the Bell Centre.
“They’ve got to be focused on [Jeff] Petry and [Ben] Chiarot right?” the source asked rhetorically. “I know they’re watching the Habs and they need defense.”
Yes, the Hurricanes do need help on the blue line and just last Friday, their general manager Don Waddell put the bat signal out to teams like the Canadiens, who still have defencemen available ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline.
“We’re short a couple of defencemen right now with injuries,” Waddell told NHL Network Radio last Friday. “If we were going to spend some money in any place at this point, I think it’d be at defense.
“Now, saying that we’ve all said we’re going to give this some time here. The deadline is March 21, a lot can happen; we have a lot of games (seven when Waddell made this statement), as everyone does in the next few weeks. That could change if something else happens with our team. If today was the deadline, I’d say we’d be looking at defense.”
Per our friends at Puckpedia, the Hurricanes currently have just north of a million in salary cap space so the Canadiens would clearly have to retain some Chiarot’s pro-rated $3.5 million cap hit and of course a lot more of three years left on Petry’s contract that carries a $6.2 million cap hit. There’s also the likelihood that the Habs take back a contract in addition to what they really want in prospects and picks. Would a Jesper Fast (one year left with a $2 million cap hit), and Jeff Gorton reunion make sense?
Thanks to the Jesperi Kotkaniemi one-year, $6.1 million offer sheet that the Canadiens didn’t match last offseason, the Hurricanes don’t have a first-round pick to offer in return for Chiarot or Petry. Waddell would need to entice Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes with prospects to secure Chiarot or Petry, which thankfully, is something they have plenty of. Hughes already insisted on a prospect instead of a pick, acquiring Emil Heineman in the Tyler Toffoli trade with the Calgary Flames and has repeatedly said his preference is prospects getting close to NHL ready over having all draft picks the Habs would have to develop.
One thing to keep in mind though as the NHL trade deadline grows closer and the NHL trade rumours continue to grow louder is that Hughes is in no hurry to trade anyone or blow it all up.
“I still think Rome wasn’t built in a night. We don’t need to have everything figured out now,” Kent Hughes told Sportsnet Insider Eric Engels recently. “There are certain things that are time-specific because of the trade deadline, and then there’s a lot of other things that we have time to look and understand and evaluate what we have.”