NHL Rumors: Michael Bunting Becoming Trade Candidate

Michael Bunting spent two years with the Toronto Maple Leafs as mainly a top-six forward, notching back-to back 23 goal seasons. He parlayed that into a 3-year, $13.5 million free agent deal from the Carolina Hurricanes ($4.5M AAV) this past summer. 

But so far with the Canes he’s playing much farther down the lineup, his ice time has been somewhat limited, and he has only 8 goals. That’s got other teams sniffing around, asking the Canes about his availability. 

"There is word around the league that when Carolina was looking to clear some cap room and maybe make a move for a goaltender, Bunting's name came up," said insider Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet this weekend. "He's still seventh or eighth [on the Hurricanes] in ice time. There was some talk about if he could be the person moved in order to create the room."

Bunting is averaging just 14:48 of ice time per night, the lowest of his career since a 5-game trial in his first NHL season. On the other hand, the 28-year-old does take a regular turn on the team’s top power play unit, and has still provided 25 points in 36 games.

Carolina currently has just over $3 million in cap room, and is still likely in the market for a goaltender. However, they’re also working on moving out defenseman Tony DeAngelo which would save $1.675 million under the cap and leave them with nearly $5 million in space.

The Hurricanes are currently sailing along at 20-13-4, with just one loss in their last 10 games, and with a slim hold on 2nd place in the Metro Division, with 44 points.

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