NHL Trade Speculation: How Devin Setoguchi to Carolina Hurricanes Makes Sense

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NHL Trade Speculation: How Devin Setoguchi to Carolina Hurricanes Makes Sense
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

It's a match made in heaven.

For the Carolina Hurricanes, it's driven by a desperate need for more top-six offensive talent.

For the Minnesota Wild, it's driven by a crammed salary-cap situation and an unproven defensive cast.

To the Carolina Hurricanes, the addition of Devin Setoguchi would provide the speed, talent and playmaking that the two Staal brothers are longing for in a linemate.

To the Minnesota Wild, the addition of Jamie McBain would bring an influx of youth and puck movement to a low-profile blue line.

In the NHL trade market's mysterious world of speculation and guesswork, it's an out-of-left-field proposal that could gain some traction.

After all, the similarities between the two stars are striking.

Setoguchi and McBain have both become oft-mentioned names in Carolina and Minnesota trade gossip over recent months, and no wonder—they each would carry extremely high value if they indeed did hit the market.

The two players have compiled short but successful track records—including respective YoungStars Game/Skills Competition appearances—and have proven their worth as up-and-coming impact players.

Dave Sandford/Getty Images
McBain with Carolina in October.

And, best of all, neither one has yet to reach his 26th birthday.

In truth, it's really a deal that works all around. Our tentative proposal:

To Carolina: LW Devin Setoguchi, RW Darroll Powe

To Minnesota: D Jamie McBain, LW Zach Boychuk, 2013 sixth-round pick

From Carolina and GM Jim Rutherford's perspective, the deal would be a cheaper way to add the flashy top-six forward it has been looking for.

After falling short in their pursuit of Zach Parise, Rick Nash, Ray Whitney and others, the 'Canes continue to seek that missing piece that could transform their rather pedestrian offense into a frighteningly explosive one.

Setoguchi has the skills to do that.

The 2005 eighth overall pick burst onto the scene with 31 goals and 65 points in his 2008-09 sophomore season with San Jose, and—while he's never approached those numbers over the past three years—still has the youth and the potential to return to them.

And besides, even if he doesn't, Setoguchi is still a solid 20-goal, 40-point scorer with great hands and a hardy frame—the Alberta native's 19 goals and 36 points last year are nothing to be ashamed of.

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Setoguchi scores in a shootout for Minnesota in March.

With Skinner, Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Tuomo Ruutu, Jussi Jokinen and Jiri Tlusty already among the Hurricanes' forward corps, Setoguchi could help the 'Canes put together a pair of trios of league-best caliber.

Setoguchi could also help the Hurricanes out on shootouts. The team's 1-6 shootout record last season was the league's worst, but the 'Canes could turn those losing ways around in 2012-13 with Setoguchi—and his 5-for-9 scoring ratio in shootouts last year—inserted into the rotation.

Moreover, defensively, McBain's departure wouldn't be an overly destructive one; 2011 first-round pick Ryan Murphy and AHL standout Bobby Sanguinetti each boast similar skill sets and youth to McBain and seem fully capable of taking his spot come opening day.

On the other hand, from Minnesota and GM Chuck Fletcher's perspective, McBain would add the final piece to an unheralded defense already fortified with Ryan Suter.

McBain, 24, burst onto the NHL scene in Spring 2010 with 10 points and a plus-six rating in 14 games and hasn't looked back since.

The former second-round pick—ironically, an Edina, Minnesota, native—has played two full 76-game campaigns since then, tallying 30 and 27 points, respectively, as a power-play quarterback and second-pairing offensive defenseman for the 'Canes.

In 2011-12, McBain, who averaged 2:34 of power-play ice time and 19:47 in total ice time per game, also registered 106 blocked shots and a mere two minor penalties—the fewest penalties-per-game ratio of any rearguard in the league. 

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Further, McBain would carry a cap hit of only $1.8 million onto Fletcher's payroll—a far cry from Setoguchi's pricey $3.0 million mark.

Following the signings of Suter and Parise, the Wild have just $776,133 in cap space to work with. That sounds like plenty of money to the average Joe, but it's really the NHL equivalent of a North Korean jail cell.

With fourth-line scrapper Darroll Powe and his $1.066 million hit also added into the exchange—the 'Canes are reportedly interested in finding more grit for their bottom line—Minnesota could drop over $2.2 million in salary in the trade and gain far more flexibility for injury call-ups once the season begins.

Washed-up prospect Zach Boychuk would help to balance out the deal, as well. The former first-round pick has never clicked in four years in the Carolina organization, but still has the upside to develop into an adequate bottom-six forward if given a new opportunity in St. Paul.

Will this exchange ever become a reality? Truthfully, the odds are rather slim.

But, at the very least, it's a possibility worth contemplating.

 

Mark Jones has been a Bleacher Report featured columnist since 2009. In that time, he has written more than 405 articles and received over 620,000 reads.

Visit his profile to read more, or follow him on Twitter.

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