Hurricanes Trade Rumors: Cam Ward & Eric Staal

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Dec 18, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward (30) celebrates the victory with forward Eric Staal (12) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Hurricanes trade rumors have been virtually non-existent, even with two potential enticing players that could hit the open market. Carolina’s Cam Ward and Eric Staal are set to become free agents in the summer of 2016.

Partially into 2015-2016, we’ve seen no indications from GM Ron Francis that he has any interest in extended either player. There were rumors that Eric Staal and management started preliminary contract talks, which saw Eric Staal asking for roughly $9 million/year.

Hurricanes Trade Rumors –
Eric Staal and Cam Ward were integral parts in Carolina’s 2006 Stanley Cup win, when Staal scored 100 points in the regular season, and Ward stole the starter role during playoffs and carried the team on his back. Unfortunately, both have seen digression in each of their games. Staal seems to hover around 70 points on average, while Cam Ward has battled injury issues year after year. While both are big core pieces, it’s unclear if they fit Carolina’s plan moving forward.

If GM Ron Francis has no interest in extended either player, it’s conceivable that both would be dealt closer to the trade deadline. Both carry rich cap hits, and would be easier for teams to absorb later in the season as rentals. The battle between agent and organization is likely to be over money. There’s a chance both players could get a taste of free-agency to gauge the market. If you’re Ron Francis and you can’t lock these guys down as affordably as you’d like, you could flip them at the trade deadline, and re-sign them in the summer. Because chances are, neither will command the number or term on the open market that they think they’re worth.

Hurricanes Trade Rumors – Trade Scenario for Both Players

October 23, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward (30) defends the goal against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Ward

Calgary Flames

It’s unclear how long GM Brad Treliving is willing to go with his shaky cast of netminders. If it goes on for too long, the Flames will be a lottery pick. This is a young team, still with playoff aspirations. And even if they can get decent goaltending from one guy, it’s unlikely any of the three (Ramo, Hiller, or Ortio) can carry Flames through a playoff round. Cam Ward is a former Conn Smythe winner with playoff experience. He wouldn’t have to come in and carry the load down the stretch, but could be an extra option come playoff time.

It’s tough to predict who could go the other way in a deal. Carolina would most likely target younger players. Maybe a Josh Jooris or Lance Bouma? Even guys like Emile Poirier or Tyler Wotherspoon put into a package with prospect(s)/draft pick(s). Carolina could use another goaltender with Drew MacIntryre being third on the depth chart.

New York Islanders

A team loaded with talent, and one of the deepest prospect pools in the NHL, the Islanders could afford to acquire Cam Ward if GM Garth Snow felt it necessary to add depth. Not that Thomas Greiss isn’t a capable backup, and Jean-Francois Berube still has potential sitting third on the depth chart. Jaroslav Halak has played well for New York, and he’s definitely no stranger to a goalie tandem from his time in Montreal and St.Louis. Halak is the type of goalie who seems to benefit when he’s pushed and challenged, and Cam Ward could step in and do that. Even better, if Halak were to falter in the playoffs, you’d at least have a second option.

If you’re the Hurricanes GM dealing with Garth Snow, you’re probably not getting your top targets. You’re more likely looking at guys like Casey Cizikas or Nikolai Kulemin. Cizikas would be a tough one to pry away, while Kulemin is simply overpaid for what he offers. Carolina might be interested in a couple young blue-liners such as Ryan Pulock or Scott Mayfield. Pulock would be another tough one to pry away from New York. Other pieces would need to be involved with prospects and draft picks, perhaps multiple on each side.

St.Louis Blues

Jake Allen and Brian Elliott have teamed to make an excellent tandem over recent years, during the regular season at least. It’s been that way as Allen continues to develop and receive more starts. The problem is, even with Elliott’s excellent numbers in the past, he’s not the type of goalie that’s going to challenge Jake Allen. He’s not the mentor type to teach this kid how to prepare and go about his daily business. He’s just there to be a serviceable second option, and come playoff time, that’s simply not good enough. St.Louis could benefit by adding a former Cup winning goalie to help show their young netminder what it takes to steal a playoff round.

Players that might interest Carolina could be Danny Kristo, Ivan Barbashev, Ty Rattie, and Joel Edmundson. This is a scenario where St.Louis being a ready to win type of team, that you would more than likely see Ward along with other pieces being moved. St.Louis might be interested in adding veteran depth on the blue-line in Ron Hainsey or John-Michael Liles. If injuries continue to hamper the Blues up front, they may be interested in adding someone like Jeff Skinner, Nathan Gerbe, or Andrej Nestrasil. Prospects and Draft Picks would definitely be involved.

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