The Carolina Hurricanes plan to be active before the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline, but whether they'll be buyers or sellers will probably be determined by how they play in the next two weeks.
The Hurricanes (28-21-6) are 13-4-1 since Dec. 31 and are one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. If that trend continues, general manager Don Waddell would love to add another scoring forward or upgrade the goaltending to help them reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008-09.
"We're talking to a lot of teams," Waddell said. "We still maintain we have a plethora of defensemen. I feel like with the right player or right package, [moving a defenseman] is something we'd certainly entertain. … It's got to make sense. It's got to help us on the ice today."
But Waddell remains focused on building the Hurricanes for long-term success. That's why he isn't interested in giving up prospects or draft picks to acquire players who aren't signed beyond this season. Instead, he would prefer to do a player-for-player trade similar to the one he made with the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 17, acquiring forward Nino Niederreiter for center Victor Rask.
"We're not in a position where we're going to be mortgaging futures to win today," Waddell said. "We've got a ways to go. You don't want to be giving up assets or draft picks for rental players to try to get in and then you don't get in. It's one thing if you pick up a player or you do a hockey trade and a player's got term left, but I don't see us at all being in the rental market.
"The only difference is we have a few unrestricted free agents. We'll see how the next 10-12 days go."
One of those potential unrestricted free agents is Micheal Ferland, who has 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists) in 46 games this season. The 26-year-old forward would be a valuable addition for a contender that needs more scoring depth.