Ron Francis was actively trading players way before trade deadline day even rolled around. Management showed their commitment to making this team better in the long run. The ‘Canes swapped two pending unrestricted free agents for draft picks, and a promising prospect. Francis made it clear earlier this week that there was no interest in trading Jordan Staal but decided to part ways with another talented player. Ron Francis spent the day shedding salary and looking towards building for the future.
Started the Noise with Tlusty
The first trade of the day saw Jiri Tlusty moving to the Winnipeg Jets for a third-round pick in the 2015 draft, and a conditional 2015 sixth-round pick. Jonathan Gardner of the Hockey Writers wrote a strong piece about the ‘Canes and what they received for Jiri Tlusty. He breaks down the Tlusty trade and what looks like a soft return for the forward. Tlusty was not a part of the ‘Canes future, and the team can now throw some younger players in Tlusty’s roster spot to give them some more NHL experience. It also opens up room for Elias Lindholm on the first line with the Staal brothers.
Francis confirmed no salary was retained by the Hurricanes in either transaction.
— Chip Alexander (@ice_chip) February 25, 2015
The Second Trade of the Day
Andrej Sekera will move to the Los Angeles Kings for a 2015 conditional first-round pick (If the Kings miss the playoffs it will become a 2016 first-rounder) and defensive prospect Roland McKeown. This trade was inevitable, but it is still hard for ‘Canes fans to watch Sekera slip away. Sekera and Justin Faulk had joined together as a strong first pair defensive unit, but the looming promise of a hefty paycheck forced Ron Francis’ hand. He went ahead and got something in return before losing Sekera to free agency.
Faulk and the ‘Canes will miss the Sekera’s presence on the ice, but they have young defensemen coming through the system that can grow into his roster spot. Ryan Murphy played well before his injury and will look to prove to the coaches he can fit into the ‘Canes future blue-line. The team also spent a high draft pick on Haydn Fleury, who they hope will become a pillar of their defense when he develops completely. With a strong draft, and possible two first-round picks this year, Ron Francis can choose to expand that defensive depth.
Roland McKeown was a second-round pick and plays in the OHL with the Kingston Frontenacs. NHL.com staff writer Mike G. Morreale shared his knowledge of teams looking at McKeown as a first-round prospect leading up to last seasons draft. Some scouts even compared him to current Chicago Blackhawk defensmen Brent Seabrook. That is a hefty comparison, but it just adds to the potential that the ‘Canes have in their farm system of defensive prospects which is never a bad thing.
Are the ‘Canes Done Dealing?
The trade deadline is still a few days away and the ‘Canes might not be done making trades. Teams on the cusp of playoff runs get desperate this time of year, and Francis will have his ear near the phone to see what some teams are willing to offer him. Players like Jordan Staal, and Eric Staal are likely safe, but will a team decide they need the services of Cam Ward for a playoff run? A few depth veteran forwards and defensemen could be on the move as teams start making calls around the deadline. Only Ron Francis knows if the team will be making anymore trades this year, but it should still be fun to watch as the window for trades winds down. The ‘Canes look towards the future with these trades, and a strong draft could have the ‘Canes in the right direction.
Francis didn’t rule out a non-UFA being traded before March 2 deadline but said, “I don’t necessarily think it will be anything like that.”
— Chip Alexander (@ice_chip) February 26, 2015
Philip is a Sports Journalist covering the Pittsburgh Penguins. Duquesne University Journalism Grad 2013.