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Morning Deadline Mailbag

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes
We’re a few hours in, and so far a lot of the news has been about players who won’t be traded, either because their teams have publicly removed their names from the discussion (Chris Pronger) or have signed them to extensions (Tim Connoly, Filip Kuba).

Paul Branecky
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Only two trades so far – the Senators sent Antoine Vermette to Columbus for goaltender Pascal Leclaire and a second-round pick, which will help the Blue Jackets get into the playoffs for the first time in their history, but doesn’t shake things up that much here in the Eastern Conference. That is, unless Leclaire stands on his head for the Senators when they play any of the bubble teams, including the Canes on March 25.

Carolina's next opponent, Calgary, has the other move, re-acquiring defenseman Jordan Leopold from Colorado for spare parts. One of those parts, Lawrence Nycholat, was just claimed off waivers yesterday.

Still quiet around here, by the way.

Some of your questions from this morning:

Q: What about the Brindy situation?  I read an MSN article that said Carolina could look to shop him for the right player.  Do you think that if he is not traded that this is his last year in the NHL? Or if not the NHL – with Carolina?  I know is play is not what everyone –including Brind’Amour – thinks it should be, but he has been the emotional heart of the Hurricanes for so long do you think that it could be possible see him in another jersey? Could our fans take it? ­Mark A. Freeze.

A: Regardless of his statistics from this year, I’m sure a number of contending teams would love to have Brind’Amour around for his experience and leadership. If this were the last year of his contract, he would certainly be high on the list of in-demand rental players. However, he’s under contract for a few more years with a fairly significant cap hit, and I’m not sure a team looking for players to make a run this year, which is the primary motivator for deadline trades, would want to make that kind of commitment going forward, even if the Hurricanes were prepared to part ways with him. As of right now, no reason to think he won’t be around next season.

Q: Do you think that the Canes need to make a trade?  In my opinion I think we have the talent and skill we need, it just doesn’t show up every night, what do you think? - Adam M.

A: That’s probably the main thing the Canes need to figure out right now. Once Jussi Jokinen and Justin Williams come back, there will be a full allotment of forwards on the roster, and that could be enough. That’s assuming no one else gets injured, however. I think the strong play of Michael Ryan in his latest call-up may actually lessen the need for another forward, as he seems like a viable option to add depth to the lineup.

Q: Jokinen has largely solved the faceoff problem given Brind’Amour’s knee & therefore reduced time.  Along with Cullen, LaRose, Staal, and defense scoring, the big need seems to be a true top 4 slot clearing shut-down defenseman.  Thoughts? - Stuart Miller

A: There’s always room for improvement, but I think the Canes are fairly happy with their defensive depth at the moment. As it stands, they’re having to scratch veterans like Frank Kaberle or Niclas Wallin on a given night, and players from Albany have proven they can step up in a pinch. Tim Conboy could also move to the back end if need be, so there’s no shortage of actual bodies. That being said, a player like you mentioned would certainly help, but at what price?

That raises a question – after identifying the team’s needs, what would you actually be willing to give up to meet them?   Now more than ever, salary and contract length have to be taken into account, which is probably the main reason why things have been so quiet around the league so far.

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