Welcome to a new weekly feature on CarolinaHurricanes.com where I take your Twitter questions and answer them in mailbag form. You may recall that I used to answer questions on Twitter each Friday. Same idea here, but with two differences: it’s on Wednesdays, and I get more than 140 characters to work with, which will hopefully provide you with more insight.
Let’s get to it.
When it comes down to it, which goalie do you think will be on the move? – Seth M. (@smeade_meade)
The question of what do to with three goaltenders has been one the Carolina Hurricanes have had to consider since late November. Injuries and the subsequent extended rehabilitations from said injuries, though, have delayed a real decision. Now, having three healthy goaltenders is a reality for the Hurricanes, and the decision on how to approach it isn’t simple.
Let’s revisit what I outlined back on Nov. 19, 2013, scenarios that are still applicable today. The Canes essentially have three options.
1) Assign Justin Peters to Charlotte. The caveat with this is that Peters would have to clear waivers, given that he has played in more than 10 games (21) since his recall. Since he has been less active in net since late November, having started just one game in 2014, there is perhaps a greater possibility he would clear waivers now versus a month-and-a-half ago. Still, the risk of losing a goaltending prospect that has been groomed in the Canes’ system since they drafted him in the second round of the 2004 NHL Draft exists, and Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford has stated that he would rather avoid this route.
Which leads us to option 2 …
2) A trade. This would be the one option that guarantees a return. Of course, it sacrifices depth at the goaltending position, but the hope is that it would bolster depth at another. Peters and Anton Khudobin are unrestricted free agents after this season, and Cam Ward has two years remaining on his contract. It’s not my position to speculate on potential trades, but if the Canes want to trim their roster down to two goaltenders, this seems to be the most likely of options.
And, finally, there is a third option.
3) Keep three goaltenders on the roster. This isn’t exactly ideal, considering it would limit available depth at forward and defense. Peters, however, is on a one-way contract, so he will earn the same amount of money whether he’s in the NHL or the AHL.
Here is Rutherford’s take on having three goaltenders: “It’s not ideal, but it’s better than not having any,” he said. “[We hope] to get one or two goalies on a hot streak. That’s basically what all teams need to win games.”
In conclusion (you see what I mean about having more than 140 characters to work with?), who gets moved or if someone even does get moved is a tricky question with lots of moving parts. As it stands now, I’d expect the Canes to waltz into the Olympic break carrying three goaltenders. After that, it could get interesting.
What’s the prediction by Mike Smith as to whether there is or is not a trade before the Friday trade deadline? – Doug A. (@dabrams2021)
Because of the Olympic break, the NHL will impose a trade freeze from 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7 through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23.
The actual trade deadline is then Wednesday, March 5 at 3 p.m.
Do I see the Canes being active in the remainder of this week? I don’t, but that could change in an instant. I think there is a greater possibility of a move being made following the break, especially based on where the Canes sit in the standings at that point in time. By March 5, the Canes will have wrapped their season-long five-game road swing that will take them through Buffalo, Dallas and California. 20 games remain on the schedule following the trade deadline, and we might have more of an idea then whether the Canes fancy themselves buyers or sellers.
When I talked to Rutherford a couple of weeks ago about potential moves, here’s what he said: “I’d still like to get more depth at center, which would take some pressure off of (Riley) Nash and (Elias) Lindholm. They can go to the wing, and it gets Manny (Malhotra) back to playing less minutes in a role that he can help us at. If that opportunity came along, I’d take it.”
Are we buyers or sellers at the deadline? – Michael O. (@irishguy8282)
I think it’s too early to answer that now, as I explained above. That five-game road trip following the Olympic break could be pivotal and might determine how the Canes approach March 5. As it stands now, the team is somewhere in between.
Hey Mike, where can I get that PNC Arena pulled pork recipe? Thanks in advance. – Rob M. (@RobMixer)
I’d tell you, Rob, but then I’d have to kill you.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you’d like answered, you can reach out to me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes.