The Hurricanes are looking at the possibility of adding a two-way center before the trade deadline, according to general manager Don Waddell.
Looking to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons, Carolina is three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference with 26 games remaining.
"We've gone nine years without making the playoffs so, as I've said, that would be great, and we'll try to do everything we can," Waddell said after a 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. "We've always said center is a position on the wish list, but Jordan Staal has made huge progress this past week. We're scoring, but we rank 23rd in face-off winning percentage (48.7 percent) and Jordan is one of the best in the League, so that's something we do miss.
"Maybe Jordan fills that role if he comes back in the near future."
Staal has missed 22 games with an upper-body injury sustained Dec. 22. He leads the Hurricanes in face-off winning percentage (56.1) among players with 25 or more games this season.
NHL.com staff writer Tom Gulitti had an extensive Q and A with Waddell on Sunday during which a variety of topics were discussed.
The Hurricanes have already made one trade ahead of the deadline, acquiring forward Nino Niederreiter from the Minnesota Wild for center Victor Rask on Jan. 17. Carolina is 7-2-1 with Niederreiter, who has nine points (six goals, three assists) in those 10 games.
Video: CAR@BUF: Niederreiter shovels in pass from Teravainen
"In saying that, we're not in a position to really mortgage our future to try and get in because if you trade your first-round pick and don't get in, it can be a setback, so we'll look around and see what's happening," Waddell said. "The way the team is playing right now, if we keep going like we're going, I'm not so sure we need to make too many changes. It's always good to have some depth and again, depending on what the price is to acquire players."
The Hurricanes play the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, FS-CR, NHL.TV).
David Pastrnak's thumb injury will not impact the way general manager Don Sweeney goes about his business leading up to the trade deadline.
The 22-year-old forward, who injured his left thumb after a team function Sunday, leads the Bruins with 66 points (31 goals, 35 assists) in 56 games. He is expected to be out at least two weeks after having surgery Tuesday.
"We were already looking and making calls to see whether we can add to the group in the right situation," Sweeney said. "The approach doesn't change. I've been having calls for a month now, at least, if not longer. We've been looking to do something. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen."
The Bruins (31-17-8), who are third in the Atlantic Division with 70 points, one behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, have made big deals close to the trade deadline before, acquiring left wing Rick Nash from the New York Rangers for three players and two draft picks a day before the trade deadline last year. Nash had six points (three goals, three assists) in 11 regular-season games and five points (three goals, two assists) in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Bruins.
Nash, 34, announced his retirement because of concussion-related symptoms Jan. 11.
"You can imagine the jockeying going on and it may go right to the deadline," Sweeney said. "I'd like to invest in someone who wants to be with us (long term) but I'd like the player to impact in our lineup as well, and that was the thought behind signing Rick Nash.
"I felt we had a chance to re-sign him. He was a really good fit for our hockey club. It's unfortunate and we wish him well, but we could use him right now."
The Bruins have persevered all season after losing some key pieces because of injury, including defensemen Zdeno Chara (19 games) and Charlie McAvoy (27 games), and forward Patrice Bergeron (16 games).
The Bruins play the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, NESN, NBCSCH, NHL.TV) before beginning a five-game West Coast road trip.
New Jersey Devils
Marcus Johansson wants to remain with the Devils.
The 28-year-old forward is one of six players on the roster who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1: Forwards Drew Stafford and Kurtis Gabriel, defensemen Ben Lovejoy and Egor Yakovlev and goalie Keith Kinkaid are the others.
Video: CAR@NJD: Johansson bangs home loose puck in front
New Jersey traded forward Brian Boyle, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, to the Nashville Predators for a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft on Feb. 6.
The Devils, 15 points from the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with 27 regular-season games remaining, could be sellers by the 2019 deadline.
Johansson confirmed to NHL.com he has a five-team no-trade list.
"We all know about the trade deadline, but I'm not thinking about it," Johansson said. "All you can do is go out and play every night and I'm playing to help the team as much as I can and do my part. I'm not worried about what's going to happen tomorrow or come trade deadline. My job is to play here right now and that's what I'm doing, 100 percent."
Johansson was acquired by the Devils in a trade with the Washington Capitals for two draft picks on July 2, 2017. Various injuries limited him to 29 games in 2017-18 and, after overcoming an upper-body injury this season, he has 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 43 games. Lately, he's been filling in on the top line for injured left wing Taylor Hall, who has missed the past 20 games with a lower-body injury.
He was asked if having an opportunity to play for a Stanley Cup contender has meaning to him.
"Everyone wants to compete for the Stanly Cup every year That's why you play, that's why we're here," Johansson said. "But for me, right now with the Devils, we haven't given up anything. There's still a mathematical chance and I feel we've played well the last few games. All we can do is go out the next day and work as hard as we can and improve."
The Devils visit the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, MSG+, NHL.TV).
Matt Duchene's agent, Pat Brisson, could be in touch with the Senators on Tuesday to discuss a new contract, according to Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic.
The Senators are telling teams they will know 10 days before the deadline whether forwards Duchene, Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel will be made available or remain in Ottawa, according to Sportsnet.
Duchene, Stone and Dzingel can become unrestricted free agents July 1.
LeBrun also said the Senators could have another round of talks with Stone's agent during the next few days.
Stone leads the Senators with 56 points (25 goals, 31 assists) in 55 games. Duchene has 53 points (25 goals, 28 assists) in 46 games and Dzingel has 41 points (21 goals, 20 assists) in 53 games.
The Senators (21-29-5) are last in the NHL with 47 points. They have won two straight heading into their game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, FS-CR, NHL.TV).
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