Could Ehlers be coming to Raleigh?
With the NHL Draft tonight, the rumor mill is on overdrive. The big story around the Canes continues to be the amount of teams interested in their right-handed defensemen. The names that continue to pop up in these conversations is the Winnipeg Jets and Nikolaj Ehlers.
The 23 year-old winger has scored 20 goals in three of his last four seasons and recording 60+ points in two of those seasons. He is regarded as a talented young scorer with a high ceiling, but the young Dane had a down year this past season scoring only 15 goals and has never recorded a playoff goal in 21 postseason games.
All of this has lead to rumors of Ehlers being aggressively shopped by the Jets. That the Jets have already made a major trade this week lends credence to the idea of them being aggressive in the trade market.
If the Jets are looking for a trading partner, Canes GM Don Waddell has shown in the past that he very willing to make a major move around draft time. Who can forget the blockbuster deal from the 2018 draft that brought in Dougie Hamilton and Michael Ferland in exchange for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin?
With the trade market expected to be very active and communication between GM’s said to be at a level not seen in years, a deal seems likely to go down if the teams can agree on the right price. Who from Carolina would be involved is the biggest question.
While Winnipeg has reportedly expressed interest in Brett Pesce, he is viewed as a higher value piece than that. The player the Hurricanes are more likely to move is Justin Faulk. The longest tenured Hurricane has found himself passed by more talented blue-liners.
That said, with Waddell at the helm, you never know what’s going to happen, and honestly, he’s earned some trust to make the right move. In the past year he made the aforementioned trade with Calgary, as well as a midseason trade with the Wild that brought in Nino Niederreiter. These moves brought in players who would become key to the success Carolina experienced with the postseason run.
In the end, all of these ideas are just rumors until something actually happens. And with every GM in the league in the same room tonight, you can bet that something will happen, just a matter of who and what? The future of the sport is decided and that what makes the draft what it is.