The Carolina Hurricanes' Most Valuable Trade Pieces

What a year it's been for Carolina. There were questions surrounding the team after the departure of their star rookie goalie Alex Nedeljkovic and a couple of holes in the lineup on the blueline and in the bottom 6 heading into the offseason, but the team hasn't missed a step. They currently sit 3rd in the Metropolitan Division but have games in hand on the teams ahead of and behind them. They currently have a 23-7-1 record through 31 games and look to be serious Cup contenders heading into the playoffs. Barring any serious injury, they're a lock for the post-season, and as such, GM Don Waddell will be looking to add some pieces at the deadline. Here are his best options for building a trade package to send the other way.

Ethan Bear

Yes, they just acquired this player last summer, but Bear is due for a new contract and a raise, and the Hurricanes have seen more benefit from their other right-handed blueline acquisition in Anthony DeAngelo, and will likely be looking to extend him instead. Bear currently makes $2 million and will be an RFA next summer. He's cost-controlled and looks to be a budding top 4 defender, and at only 24-years old, there's a ceiling on this player that he has yet to reach. Teams will put a lot of value on him as an addition to their lineup.

Antti Raanta

The injury-prone Finnish netminder has had another season plagued by health issues, and Freddie Andersen has seized the starter's net in Carolina for the foreseeable future. The Canes also have Alex Lyon and budding star Eetu Makiniemi brewing in the minors. The latter has an 11-2-1 record with the Chicago Wolves this season and looks ready to assume backup duties starting next year, making Raanta an expendable asset. So much the better, Raanta has another year left on his contract after this one, making $2 million per season. Teams that are seeking a high-end 1B goaltender would be willing to spend assets to bring in a player of Raanta's caliber, and the Canes can benefit from that interest.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi

The offer sheet Carolina had this player sign was a great bit of management revenge for what the Habs sent to Sebastian Aho a few years ago, but Kotkaniemi simply hasn't lived up to the $6.1 million the Canes are paying him. Currently, he has 7 goals and 15 points in 31 games. Not bad, but that money could be better spent elsewhere and have a greater effect on the team's success. That said, teams will have some interest in the young centreman, especially given his RFA status when his current deal expires.

Vincent Trocheck

Both Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter are UFAs starting next summer, and both are producing at a very similar rate. Trocheck has 7 goals and 21 points in 31 games, Niederreiter has 10 goals and 17 points in 25 games. Niederreiter has the advantage in a few ways: he scores more goals, takes far fewer penalties (just 2 PIMs this season to Trocheck's 41 PIMs), and he has the Finnish connection that the Canes seem to covet. There isn't any urgency in trading either player, but if the Canes spot a middle-6 winger with some term that they could swap for Trocheck, they'll make the deal in a heartbeat. 

1st-Round Pick

Obviously, as Cup contenders, the Canes will be willing to ship out their first-round selection in the 2022 Draft. It won't carry too much value on its own given the likelihood this team will be going deep into the playoffs, but as part of a package (maybe one including Trochek or Bear) Carolina could bring in a difference-making player that could be the piece that gets them to the Finals, and maybe all the way to a Stanley Cup.

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