Ron Francis is ready to make more deals.
Heading into the offseason, Francis had 11 draft picks at this June’s draft, and already used one — a third-rounder — to acquire Scott Darling from Chicago.
Now, the Hurricanes GM is prepared to use more in the hopes of adding to the roster.
“We’ve got the open for business sign out there,” Francis said Wednesday, per the News & Observer. “We’re in a unique situation with the amount of picks we have and the amount of prospects we have. It’ll be interesting.
“Really what it comes down to is what teams want: Do they want a player back for the asset they don’t have to protect or are they willing to take some picks and prospects?”
It’s pretty obvious the goal for Francis and head coach Bill Peters is to get the ‘Canes back into the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The team has shown steady improvement over the last three years — going from 30 to 35 to 36 wins — and had a nice late push before ultimately falling short this season.
“I think we have specific needs, very specific needs,” Peters said at Carolina’s end-of-year media availability. “So as a coach I’m going to give very specific names.”
It sounds like more than just picks could be in play.
The News & Observer said the ‘Canes “aren’t agonizing” over the expansion draft, as the team has a pretty good idea of who’ll be exposed. So it could be a case of identifying the players that will remain, and seeing what assets they may fetch in return.
There’s been speculation that the Hurricanes might be willing to move Noah Hanifin. Though it might seem strange to dangle a gifted 20-year-old d-man with loads of potential, Carolina has good depth on the blueline with Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce. It’s expected that prospects Roland McKeown and Haydn Fleury will push for NHL jobs next year, and there’s still ’16 first-rounder Jake Bean on the horizon.
Francis also has another asset at his disposal — cap space.
It’s what allowed the ‘Canes to snag Teuvo Teravainen from Chicago for the price of taking on Bryan Bickell‘s contract. Another similar move could very well be in the cards, especially when the NHL releases next year’s cap ceiling figure.