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Hurricanes Should Pursue Nikolaj Ehlers to Exchange Jake Guentzel amid NHL Commerce Rumors

Nikolaj Ehlers Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images The Carolina Hurricanes traded forward Jake Guentzel to the Tampa Bay Lightning just before the start of free agency and only a few months after he was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins. For Carolina, the trade made sense, even if it only netted a 2025 third-round pick. Guentzel

Hurricanes Should Pursue Nikolaj Ehlers to Exchange Jake Guentzel amid NHL Commerce Rumors

Nikolaj Ehlers

Nikolaj EhlersDarcy Finley/NHLI by way of Getty Photographs

The Carolina Hurricanes traded ahead Jake Guentzel to the Tampa Bay Lightning simply earlier than the beginning of free company and just a few months after he was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

For Carolina, the commerce made sense, even when it solely netted a 2025 third-round choose. Guentzel was on an expiring contract and eyeing a major new deal—he signed a seven-year, $63 million cope with Tampa Bay—and the Hurricanes have been reportedly resigned to the truth that he would depart.

“I imagine Carolina has let everybody know that if you wish to commerce for his rights for the possibility to signal him, that it’s potential for a mid-round choose,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman mentioned on the 32 Ideas podcast on June 7 (h/t Heavy’s Antonio Losada).

Carolina not less than acquired one thing for a participant it was going to lose anyway, but it surely additionally misplaced a participant who, when acquired, was supposed to assist the Hurricanes chase a title.

Guentzel did present 4 objectives and 9 factors in 11 playoff video games for Carolina, but it surely once more fell quick within the postseason. Now the franchise, which has been a perennial contender for the reason that 2018-19 season however hasn’t reached the Stanley Cup Closing in that span, is again trying to find offensive assist.

In keeping with Stefen Rosner of NHL.com, Carolina is now eyeing Winnipeg Jets wing Nikolaj Ehlers:

Stefen Rosner @stefen_rosner

There are studies that CAR is pushing closely for Ehlers.

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Can verify these studies.

Make sense with them dropping Guentzel.#Isles had curiosity main as much as #NHLDraft.

Might nonetheless have curiosity even after buying Duclair however undecided.

Ehlers, who produced 25 objectives and 61 factors final season, is a wise goal within the wake of dropping Guentzel, and he is a participant the Hurricanes should pursue.

Whereas Ehlers hasn’t been as productive as Guentzel lately, he is nonetheless a powerful offensive menace who might assist hold Carolina in competition. He is additionally the Hurricanes earlier than. In keeping with The Athletic’s Murat Ates, the Jets and ‘Canes mentioned an Ehlers commerce forward of the 2019 draft.

Moreover, Ehlers could also be one of many few real looking commerce targets that Carolina has left at this level within the offseason. Final month, Jets common supervisor Kevin Cheveldayoff told reporters that Ehlers was “a giant a part of what we have now going ahead right here,” however there have been studies that the 28-year-old is trying to play elsewhere.

“In keeping with a well-placed supply near the Jets, Ehlers is just not excited about signing a contract extension with the membership and that’s primarily why Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is exploring his choices by way of the commerce market,” David Pagnotta of The Fourth Interval wrote on June 5.

There can be obstacles to buying Ehlers, in fact. His $6 million cap hit would eat up most of Carolina’s $7.5 million in cap area. Plus, there’s the matter of commerce compensation.

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Nevertheless, the Hurricanes might need the proper commerce chip in budding standout Martin Nečas. Whereas the 25-year-old has flashed the potential of a future star, he is a restricted free agent, not too long ago filed for arbitration and appears to need a bigger position that Carolina cannot or is not keen to supply.

“I used to be not among the many key gamers. I want to enhance that sooner or later, each from my perspective and general,” Nečas mentioned, per Derek O’Brien of The Hockey Information.

Nečas’ state of affairs might get a bit sticky. As TSN’s Frank Corrado not too long ago famous, he has been the topic of commerce chatter and will make for a perfect participant swap.

“If Martin Nečas’ title is on the market, and we have heard that for fairly some time now it must be him coming again in return, would not it?” Corrado advised SportsCentre.

Nečas, who scored 53 factors this previous season and 71 factors the earlier yr, is a useful contributor for the Hurricanes. He might even have a vivid future with the franchise. Nevertheless, if Carolina is not keen to present him the expanded position he needs—or pay him no matter quantity arbitration yields—flipping him for Ehlers can be seen as a win.

The Hurricanes are clearly a group in win-now mode, and Ehlers is among the few potential additions who might make a direct affect. He’s set to be a free agent in 2025, although, so in the event that they do purchase him, they’re going to must do a greater job of locking him up than they did with Guentzel.

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