Over this past summer, the Carolina Hurricanes made waves with some heavy-hitting defenceman trades. The team sent Anthony DeAngelo to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for draft picks. This turned heads, considering DeAngelo quarterbacked the team’s powerplay and scored 51 points in just 64 contests. Teams atop the NHL don’t frequently part ways with their highest-scoring defenders. That said, everything clicked just one week later. The Canes acquired Brent Burns from the San Jose Sharks, in exchange for prospects and a draft pick. They grabbed a depth defenceman in Dylan Coghlan from the Vegas Golden Knights, too. Despite these moves, the Hurricanes continue exploring options on defence around the league today.
Hurricanes Exploring Options on Defence to Bolster Roster
When Carolina added Burns, the team assumed they upgraded from DeAngelo. However, their powerplay today sits 26th in the league, executing at a lowly-16.87% clip. That falls well below the 21.98% conversion rate they achieved with DeAngelo on the blueline a year ago. Burns has 14 points through 22 games to-date, equating to a 0.636 points-per-game rate. That, too, sits beneath DeAngelo’s 0.797 points-per-game as a Hurricane last season.
So, Carolina must step back and make a decision. And adding another defenceman looks very plausible at the moment. They just squared off with the Arizona Coyotes, and scouted Shayne Gostisbehere in the process. He contributed two assists against the Hurricanes in a shocking 4-0 shutout win. With 14 points in 20 games, his scoring pace of 0.7 points-per-game ranks ahead of both Burns and DeAngelo in 2022-23. Doing so on a lowly Coyotes team suggests significant potential for greater numbers with a better team around him, too.
Other Hurricanes Defence Options
If Carolina is in the market for Gostisbehere, they are likely in the market for other, similar players too. John Klingberg from the Anaheim Ducks certainly gets dealt before the deadline, though his $7 million cap hit doesn’t fit Carolina’s books. The asking price, too, will be high; add salary retention to that just to make the deal feasible mathematically, and it looks nearly insurmountable to pull from Carolina the return that Anaheim will be requiring. Klingberg will have a bidding war over him anyways, so the stars have to align just right for him to wind up in a Canes sweater this year.
Jakob Chychrun, Gostisbehere’s Coyotes teammate, also resides on the trade block. But, if Klingberg’s price sits out of reach for Carolina, Chychrun’s certainly exceeds it. His cap hit falls within a reasonable range, but with three years remaining on that team-friendly deal, Arizona will want an arm and a leg (and probably another arm) in return. Gostisbehere comes in at $100,000 cheaper than Chychrun and just through the end of this season. He really looks like the best bet should Carolina pull the trigger and add a defenceman mid-season via trade.
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