The Carolina Hurricanes were one of the busiest teams at the NHL trade deadline on Monday, and given their current injury situation they probably needed to be.
With defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce both sidelined longer-term with injuries, the Hurricanes added Sami Vatanen and Brady Skjei in separate deals with the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers.
In exchange for Vatanen, the Hurricanes are sending a conditional 2020 4th round pick, forward prospect Janne Kuokkanen, and Fredrik Claesson to New Jersey.
Vatanen, who has been injured for the past couple of weeks, is an unrestricted free agent after this season.
For Skjei, the Hurricanes sent a 2020 first-round pick to the Rangers.
The Hurricanes have two first-round picks in the 2020 class (their own and Toronto’s) and will send the lesser of those two picks to the Rangers.
Skjei is signed for five more years at a salary cap hit of $5.25 million per season. He joins Jaccob Slavin, Jake Gardiner, and Pesce as defensemen on the roster that are signed through at least the 2022-23 season. Hamilton is still signed through the end of next season.
The Hurricanes also added Vincent Trocheck in a blockbuster deal with the Florida Panthers earlier on Monday.
While all of these moves either address significant short-term needs (Vatanan and Skjei) and add potential impact talent to the roster (Trocheck) the biggest question for Carolina down the stretch will be the health of their two goalies, James Reimer and Petr Mrazek.
Both were injured on Saturday night in the Hurricanes’ 6-3 win against Toronto, resulting in emergency goalie David Aryes entering the game and getting the win. Both goalies are expected to be sidelined due to their injuries and there is currently no timetable for their returns. With no trade for a goalie completed before Monday’s trade deadline, that leaves the Hurricanes with a goalie duo of Alex Nedeljkovic and Anton Forsberg. The performance of those two for however long the Hurricanes need to rely on them will do more to impact the team’s playoff chances than any trade made on Monday.
The Hurricanes next game is on Tuesday against the Dallas Stars.
They enter the week in the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with 74 points. They are tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for that spot but still have two games in hand. They are also just two points back of the New York Islanders for the first wild card spot, and three points back of the Philadelphia Flyers for the third playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division.