Carolina Hurricanes trade rumors, trade deadline outlook

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

Thanks to injuries to players like Justin Faulk, the Hurricanes have a need on defense. (USATSI)
Thanks to injuries to players like Justin Faulk the Hurricanes have a need on defense. (USATSI)

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With the 2013 NHL trade deadline at 3 p.m. ET April 3, Eye on Hockey will examine whether each team is a buyer or seller at the deadline, and who each team should look to sell or receive by the deadline.

Buyers or Sellers

A couple of weeks ago the Hurricanes looked like they were going to run away with the Southeast Division, but a few losses and some injuries have put them in a back-and-forth race with the Winnipeg Jets for the top spot in the division.

They still have a great shot to make the playoffs and unless the bottom completely falls out on their season over the next couple of weeks they're clearly not going to be selling.

That said, would it really be a huge shock to see Carolina do nothing at all?

They're probably not close enough to being a true Stanley Cup contender this season to give up major assets and make a major splash, and with the limited number of true sellers right now prices are sure to be through the roof.

That's not an ideal market to be buying in. Unless you want to overpay for a guy like Ladislav Smid or Robyn Regehr.

Rumors

Carolina made two blockbuster moves over the summer when it acquired Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin, and its already strong forward lineup received a bit of a boost this week when Tuomo Ruutu returned after offseason surgery. The team has been so happy with Semin's play that it would like to re-sign him after the season. If there's a weakness on this team it's clearly its defense and Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford recently told Dan Rosen of NHL.com that he is looking to acquire a depth defensemen.

Potential Targets

Again, if they're looking to make an addition it pretty much has to be defense, and that was true even before Justin Faulk went down with an injury (and Faulk is a big loss as he plays some of the toughest minutes on the team). As of Friday Carolina is giving up an average of 31.4 total shots per game, seventh-worst in the NHL, and more than 30 per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play, which is the eighth-worst in the league.

The goaltending situation is a mess right now with both Cam Ward and Dan Ellis out with injuries, but even if they were both healthy the Hurricanes are asking their netminders to do too much.

The teams like Carolina looking for defensemen have pretty much the same potential options to fight over, and not many of them are all that appealing: Edmonton's Smid and Mark Fistric, Colorado's Ryan O'Byrne, Buffalo's Regehr and Jordan Leopold, and perhaps the Islanders' Lubomir Visnovsky and Mark Streit if they can't keep up in the playoff race and fail to sign them to new contracts.

Guys like Regehr, Fistric, and O'Byrne provide the "physical edge" that people are always looking for as "stay-at-home defensemen", but just haven't been that good this season.

Columbus' Adrian Aucoin doesn't get a ton of attention but could be a useful addition on the cheap for a team like Carolina, but with the Blue Jackets winning just about every game they play and working their way back into the playoff race he may not be as available (at least not yet) as he may have been a few weeks ago.

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