4 Big Questions for the Carolina Hurricanes in 2020-21

Petr Mrazek (34) of the Carolina Hurricanes. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Petr Mrazek (34) of the Carolina Hurricanes. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Dougie Hamilton #19 of the Carolina Hurricanes. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

3. What happens at the Trade Deadline?

Every NHL Trade Deadline is different; in this flat cap-era, who knows what will happen. For simplicity’s sake, we know most fans want to either add the piece that pushes their team over the edge and earn a Stanley Cup. While others hope not to lose their fan-favorite player or scores of prospects for a one-year rental (the Arizona Coyotes being a huge eye-sore of a recent example).

Adding gasoline to the Trade Deadline fire is the looming Expansion Draft as next year, the 2021-2022 season will be the inaugural season for the Seattle Kraken. Why does this affect Carolina? The Hurricanes are stacked with talent, and teams like that are going to either have to make a move or just watch as that talent walks to Seattle with nothing in return.

Teams have two choices: 1. Protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender, or 2. Protect eight skaters of any combination and one goaltender. The Hurricanes’ worries are going to be caused by their awesome defensive core.

Let us assume that the Canes protect Jaccob Slavin, Dougie Hamilton, and Brady Skjei. That leaves Jake Gardiner, Brett Pesce, and Haydn Fleury all exposed to expansion. All three of those guys would be starting defensemen on probably every team in the NHL.

If we talk about more complicated, however, very possible options, Carolina could trade Dougie Hamilton. It might be a painful move to make, but Hamilton is in a contract year, and it would accomplish a lot. A trade of that magnitude would bring a bounty of prospects and draft picks as well as free up money that is needed to re-sign Andrei Svechnikov to the kind of deal he deserves.

Obviously, anything could happen at the 2021 Trade Deadline, but the Carolina Hurricanes are going to either make a move of some kind or watch as some of its key pieces vanish to the Pacific Northwest.