The Carolina Hurricanes will be looking for a cheaper option on defence before next season as they just traded Tony DeAngelo away for a slew of draft picks from the Philadelphia Flyers. With that said, the Edmonton Oilers would still like to free up even more cap space before free agency opens, and they have a key trade chip in Tyson Barrie to offer to the Hurricanes.
I’ve brought up a couple of teams that may be landing spots for Barrie that have similar holes to Carolina, but after Kris Letang re-signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins, it narrowed the destinations. The Hurricanes made it clear they are planning on going even cheaper with an offensive defenceman, and since Oilers general manager Ken Holland has been in talks with GM Don Waddell of the Hurricanes, something may be brewing and executed very soon. The Oilers are on a row right now clearing cap, and there’s more to do.
Carolina’s Recent Moves Opening a Spot on Defence Again
We once again see the Hurricanes as a legitimate trade partner of the Oilers with a defenceman likely headed out of Edmonton. The Hurricanes, for the second season in a row, moved on from their top offensive defenceman when they were in line for a pay raise. Dougie Hamilton is more understandable, considering he received a seven-year, $63 million contract. There are not too many defencemen paid $9 million-plus per season, and the Hurricanes have been known to be cheaper.
As for them parting with Tony DeAngelo, for him to sign for two years at $5 million per seemed a bit odd. It’s much cheaper for great offensive production from a defenceman than what Hamilton provided. There may have been something going on behind the scenes, as the Philadelphia Flyers got a steal on the contract they signed him for after just acquiring him from the Hurricanes. He is a 26-year-old defenceman who has recorded 50-plus points in his past two full seasons.
So it brings us to the need that has developed for the Hurricanes once again, and that’s filling a hole on the right side on the second pairing. They have Brett Pesce, who is capable of playing on the top pair, while Ethan Bear has not shown he can even be counted on to stay in the lineup, so the Hurricanes will be looking to the trade or free-agent market.
There aren’t too many options available that fit the mold of what they’re looking for and are cheaper than DeAngelo. The defenceman they need should be able to contribute on the power play, log 20-plus minutes a night, and think offensively. That is why Barrie makes perfect sense, and Carolina and Edmonton aren’t unfamiliar with making trades that benefit both sides. Barrie has a cap hit of $4.5 million for two more seasons, so the commitment by the Hurricanes won’t be too long, which benefits their way of thinking. In terms of on-ice production, Barrie has 89 points and 44 power-play points in 129 games over the past two seasons. Considering DeAngelo had 105 points and 40 power-play points in his last 138 games, I think it’s a very fair trade-off for a great locker room guy in Barrie.
Oilers Aren’t Done Freeing Up Cap Space
It’s no secret Holland had a lot of work to do coming into free agency to free up cap space and sign a number of key players that were a part of the Oilers’ conference final run. Those names include Evander Kane, Brett Kulak, Kailer Yamamoto, Jesse Puljujarvi, and Ryan McLeod, plus adding a goaltender, whether it be via trade or more likely in free agency.
So far, the Oilers moved three spots back in the first round of the 2022 NHL draft and added a couple of picks down the line to send Zack Kassian to the Arizona Coyotes. Then Duncan Keith retired, and it freed up a lot more cap space. In less than 24 hours, the Oilers freed up $8.7 million for next season and another $3.2 million for the season after. Per Darren Dreger on TSN’s Insider Trading, Mike Smith “has dealt with a string of injuries, and it’s highly likely that he will go on long-term injury reserve for the remainder of his contract, which only has one more year on it at $2.2 million.” That could be another stroke of luck for the Oilers, as that would raise the cap cleared to $10.9 million and counting.
One of the last pieces that they must move is Barrie, and that would remove another $4.5 million for the next two seasons. The Oilers don’t need a third-pairing defenceman making that much money, and Evan Bouchard has shown he can take top unit duties on the power play as he has the skill set and point-producing ability.
The Oilers need all the money they can get to possibly overpay for a goaltender in free agency, bring back very key unrestricted free agents, and lock up their restricted free agents. The Hurricanes have a need, and the Oilers have the perfect player to accommodate them.
Rob Couch is a THW freelance writer covering mainly the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. He covers everything you need to know about fantasy hockey. He will also keep you up to date with NHL Stats News, trade talks, and daily betting guides.
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