Carolina Hurricanes Solidify Lineup at Trade Deadline

Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images)
Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images) /

The Carolina Hurricanes made two big moves on Monday ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline.

Before making a trade, the Hurricanes locked up forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi with an eight-year contract worth $38.56 million ($4.82 million per season). In his first season with the Canes, Kotkaniemi has 23 points in 59 games.

The 21-year-old was one of many Montreal Canadiens to not return to the ice this season for the Habs. He recorded eight points in 19 games during Montreal’s improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final a season ago before being snatched away by the Hurricanes in the offseason.

As far as trades are concerned, Carolina made one major move after agreeing to the Kotkaniemi extension. The Hurricanes acquired forward Max Domi from the Columbus Blue Jackets in a deal that also included the Florida Panthers.

Domi has tallied 32 points (nine goals and 23 assists) this season with the Jackets, an increase in production from what was his worst offensive season a year ago. In his career, the 27-year-old has scored 307 points in 482 games.

The Hurricanes have enhanced their lineup with two big moves.

What the Canes will hope to unlock is the 72-point version of Domi that was last seen in a Montreal sweater in 2019. The former Hab scored 28 goals that season, showing off the potential that one would expect from a player drafted 12th overall.

Despite 32 points being below average compared to some of his seasons, that point total ranks sixth among Hurricanes skaters. As a result, Domi could provide an offensive spark for a team that has been solid in almost every statistical category this season.

I like both of these moves for Carolina, because the players involved have tremendous upside, and the Hurricanes didn’t have to break the bank to make them happen. I am a bit surprised that the Panthers would be a part of a deal that sent Domi to one of its primary challengers in the Eastern Conference, but here we are.

These deals allow the Canes to keep pace with moves that have been made by other teams in the Metropolitan Division, and I believe that this club has solidified its position as a Stanley Cup contender.

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The East is going to be incredibly competitive come playoff time, but with these moves, expect the Hurricanes to be right in the middle of it all.