We are still ten weeks away from crowning a Stanley Cup Champion, but already the rumor mills of off-season trades and free agent signings are turning. The one possibility I am getting excited about involves my hometown Carolina Hurricanes. They recently became the first team to “unofficially” enter the sweepstakes for free agent to be Zach Parise. It has been no secret in Carolina that for years the team has been unable to find wingers of high caliber to play along side franchise player Eric Staal. After resigning this years’ top-line mainstay Jiri Tlusty to a two year deal last Monday, a spot remains vacant on the line. The Hurricanes finally have some salary cap space to go out and get someone who can jettison the team into playoff contention right away. Zach Parise would be the perfect fit. A perennial all-star, proven goal scorer in the prime of his career is something the Hurricanes, along with Staal could use.
The New Jersey Devils are stuck in a money situation that could see them lose Parise, and when he hits the open market, many teams will come calling. Maybe the Hurricanes are a long shot to sign him, as he will demand top-dollar on the open market from teams like the Detroit Red Wings or the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the possibility of Parise in Raleigh has to get fans excited.
Luke DeCock, who broke the story about Parise today also outlines a few other options the Hurricanes have in mind. If they do not land Parise, it appears the Hurricanes could suffer another year of mediocrity and wait for Eric Staal’s brother Jordan Staal to hit the open market. Jordan is a center for the Pittsburgh Penguins known for both his offensive ability and his defensive zone play, a need the Hurricanes need to address. If they wait until 2013 however, they will have to go out and find another winger then anyway, so why not make a big move now?
The Canes also seem to have their eye on three veteran players, who they could land in a steal this offseason after two of them had down seasons with their current clubs:
There are three players who may be available via trade, perennial All-Stars, all big-time goal-scorers, who could play with Eric Staal: Calgary’s Jarome Iginla, Columbus’ Rick Nash and San Jose’s Patrick Marleau. None of the three appears to have any interest in coming here at this point, but they haven’t spent much time talking to Kirk Muller yet. None would come cheap via trade, but the Hurricanes are relatively flush with young defensemen, the ultimate coin of the realm.
I am going to go ahead and say it, Rick Nash will not be a Carolina Hurricane. The Blue Jackets will get too many offers from contending teams, and he will pretty much have a pick of where he wants to go. Iginla and Marleau on the other hand are a little bit of a different story. If the Hurricanes can make a few key additions defensively, they could become a playoff contender with their core of young defenseman and forwards already in place. This might get the attention of Iginla or Marleau, stars of the league whose careers are on the downfall. Iginla may not settle for another small market team, but Marleau could be an actual possibility to come to Raleigh.
Now, back to the biggest trade bait on the market this offseason Rick Nash. Hopefully he will be going to the San Jose Sharks, who recently suffered a first round playoff defeat. At the trade deadline, Nash listed the Sharks as one of his top teams to go to. The trade fell through when the Blue Jackets wanted Logan Couture as part of the deal. But if the Sharks are willing to part-ways with goaltender Antti Niemi, would the Jackets accept the deal? Rick Nash and Joe Thornton have a relationship that goes back to the NHL lockout in 2004-2005, where the two were teammates in Switzerland. If a deal can get done and Nash lands in San Jose, the two players could combine to be one of the best lines in the league, regardless of who the third player is on that line.
As the season winds down, the rumors will start piling up, and Danglesauce will be here to sort it all out. These are two possible moves that have me excited, but who would be a good fit for your team?