NHL Rumours: Carolina Hurricanes, Vancouver Canucks, New Jersey Devils

NHL Rumours

Welcome back to the Tuesday edition of NHL Rumours! The Stanley Cup Playoffs are down to the semifinal round. As things wind down on the ice, the rumours off the ice are starting to heat up. The expansion draft, NHL Draft and free agency are inching closer and closer. General managers around the league are positioning themselves for big offseasons. And with so many names in play right now it will be interesting to see who gets moved. In today’s edition of NHL Rumours, we look at the Carolina Hurricanes, Vancouver Canucks, and New Jersey Devils.

NHL Rumours

Carolina Hurricanes

Rumour: According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the Hurricanes have given free-agent defenceman Dougie Hamilton permission to talk to other teams.

Analysis: This is a very interesting move, to say the least by the Hurricanes. Normally teams do not even entertain the idea of letting other teams make offers to their free agents. Most of the time those players are already off the team at the trade deadline. But with the Hurricanes in the playoff hunt, they could not trade a cornerstone piece of their defence. The Hurricanes finished in first place in the Central Division this season and Hamilton was a big part of it. Ever since he was acquired from the Calgary Flames, Hamilton has found a home in Carolina anchoring that blueline. Hamilton recorded 10 goals and 42 points during 55 regular-season games and added two goals and five points in 11 playoff games this season.

As noted earlier, Hamilton is a free agent this offseason after wrapping up a six-year, $34.5 million contract which paid him $5.75 million a season. You know he will be looking to get more on the open market. And with tactic, this gives the Hurricanes an opportunity to see if they can even afford to bring him back or look elsewhere for another defender. Sign and trades are rare in the NHL. We normally see them in other sports, but with the way the salary cap is set up for the next couple of seasons, these manoeuvres may start to creep into the NHL. And if Hamilton can strike it reach someplace else and the team gets an asset in return it is a win-win for both parties.

Vancouver Canucks

Rumour: Ben Kuzma of the Province writes that Alex Kerfoot or Brandon Sutter could solve the Vancouver Canucks problem at the centre position. 

Analysis: The Canucks are having issues down the middle with their centre depth. Outside of Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller, they do not have a suitable option to play third-line centre. This assumes that Brandon Sutter does not re-sign with the Canucks. Sutter is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but played well for the Canucks in that role. But again do the Canucks want to re-sign him and at what cost. Sutter has shown his ability to be flexible throughout the lineup. Plus he has taken less money to stay in Vancouver. And if the Canucks are able to fill the third line centre position, Sutter moves down in the fourth line centre spot. This makes Jay Beagle more expendable.

While Kerfoot is not a free agent, he has two years left on a deal that pays him on his deal which pays him $3.5 million annually.  With the Canucks believing they are a couple of years away, this is a shot worth taking. Plus Kerfoot has been on the Canucks radar in the past. Considering the Toronto Maple Leafs have to unload some salary this offseason to sign some free agents of their own, this is a smart play. However, the best thing the Canucks can do is offer prospect and draft pick for a guy like Kerfoot, who will be left unprotected.

However, with the Canucks needing to sign players like Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson, it will be interesting to see how much salary they can absorb in a flat cap world.

New Jersey Devils

Rumour: In the latest edition of his mailbag, Corey Masisak of The Athletic writes that Blake Coleman is a player he could see returning to the Devils. 

Analysis: The Devils are in a good position entering the offseason with all this cap space. They have needs in every position. As do other teams in their position. The day the Devils traded Blake Coleman to the Tampa Bay Lightning, many thought a return was in the works. Coleman is on a very cheap deal and fits into Lightning’s salary cap structure. He has won a Stanley Cup and is eight wins away from doing it again. However, he is going to be getting a raise on his next contract and the Lightning cannot keep everyone. Coleman fits well wih a young Devils team. He brings that grit and physicality along with that scoring presence needed for a young team.

Even though he has not scored much for the Lightning his presence is being felt elsewhere. And that is what good teams do put players in a position to succeed to help out. With the Devils a few years away from contending, a player like Coleman is perfect to add to the mix. Now again, does Coleman want to come back? Well, he spoke highly of his time in New Jersey. Does the team want him back is the next question? Where do they see him fitting? Do not forget, Coleman is a free agent at the end of the season and could go other places. The Devils will have competition from the Dallas Stars and other contending teams.. Coleman is exactly what this young Devils team needs and fills a void ever since he was traded.

That does it for this edition of NHL Rumours, stay tuned for another edition on Wednesday.

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