The Carolina Hurricanes are entering one of their most significant offseasons in years. The team is now under new ownership and has hired a new general manager, Don Waddell. After missing out on the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the ninth straight season, the franchise was blessed at the NHL Draft Lottery, where the won the right to select second overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Andrei Svechnikov, listed as the number one ranked player among North American skaters, appears to have the best shot in the draft, and Waddell has already confirmed that he will be chosen with Carolina's first round draft pick. The Hurricanes are fairly deep on defense, where they have young players and prospects like Jaccob Slavin, Noah Hanifin, Justin Faulk, Trevor Van Riemsdyk, Brett Pesce, Haydn Fleury and Jake Bean, and all are under the age of 26.
With forwards being a priority over defense this offseason, Svechnikov makes the most sense for a team looking to jump start their offense. However, while Andrei Svechnikov is assured to be the 'Canes selection for a team in desperate need of offense, the team has been attempting to find other ways to reinforce the team for the coming season, notably by publicly shopping forward Jeff Skinner.
Skinner is entering the final year of his current contract that pays him 5.725 million dollars per year. When he becomes a free agent, he will likely make a bit of a raise, considering he will only be 27 when he hits the open market. However, is trading away a player like Skinner really worth it for Carolina?
Skinner has recorded 379 points, 204 of which are goals, throughout his career in Raleigh. For a team that finished in the bottom of the Metropolitan Division with only 228 goals on the season, keeping Skinner on the team after adding Svechnikov would seem like a good way to enhance an offense that has been rather stagnant in recent years.
Reportedly, Waddell has asked for a first round pick and a prospect of Skinner, which seems like a fair asking price considering what he provides to any team that acquires him. That said, a prospect and an addition first round selection most likely would not help the team right away, and any return on the trade probably wouldn't be seen until later in the future. Additionally, by essentially replacing Svechnikov with Skinner, the team is essentially stuck in the same spot they were last season, where Svechnikov basically replaces the production of Skinner if the 'Canes get lucky enough to see the rookie put up 25 plus goals and 50 points.
With the way the roster looks right now, the players on the roster that they will continue to rely on offense are Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, Elias Lindholm and Teuvo Teravainen. While they are decent forwards, that simply isn't enough to overcome the loss of a player like Jeff Skinner even if they welcome Svechnikov into the fold.
If Carolina hangs onto Skinner, Svechnikov would be able to add to their goal total rather than attempt to replace the offense that the team will be missing if Skinner is traded.