We knew it would be an active and interesting day for anyone and everyone involved in the Carolina Hurricanes organization, but several trades and a tandem of surprises are the highlights of one of the most important March 3rds in franchise history.
Gone are the likes of veterans Stephane Yelle, Aaron Ward, and Scott Walker, as well as middle-aged defensemen Andrew Alberts and Joe Corvo. But even more shocking is the fact that heavily-rumored forward Ray Whitney may be staying in Carolina.
The 37 year old winger, who's second on the team in points and has become one of the Canes' leaders off-paper as well, had been discussing trades to Nashville, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and the New York Islanders. But it appears that Whitney may not be going anywhere.
Why, you wonder? How about just getting to the trades so far today.
Carolina Hurricanes' Trade Deadline Summary
Stephane Yelle, Harrison Reed, Andrew Alberts, Joe Corvo, Scott Walker, Aaron Ward
Brian Pothier (WSH), Cedric Lalande-McNicoll (COL), Oskar Osala (WSH), Justin Pogge (ANA)
Draft Picks Received:
These moves, at least, give us one signal: the Hurricanes are looking forward and are not trying to make a playoff push this spring.
Besides Pothier, none of their actual players received are going to really make an impact this season. Instead the Hurricanes will load up on picks for the 2010 draft.
In addition to their original seven, the 'Canes had added two more before the Olympic break and now tacked on another possible five today. This will set them up for a massive prospect class, but they're going to have to wait until summer and waste away the rest of the season without this huge bulk of depth.
However, let's move on to an analysis of each trade to see how each deal will work out for Carolina.
Trade Summaries & Analysis
Aaron Ward to Anaheim Ducks for Pogge & Pick
The 'Canes first deal of the day sent 37-year-old defenseman Aaron Ward away to Aneheim after his brief second stint with the 'Canes. In return, Carolina reeled in 23-year-old goaltender Justin Pogge and a 2010 or 2011 fourth round draft pick.
Ward had recorded one goal, 10 assists, 54 penalty minutes, and a miserable minus-17 rating for the Hurricanes in 60 games played. He had also contributed little leadership despite his age and had suffered through quite a few small injuries throughout the year.
However, Ward did add 138 hits and 122 blocked shots, both tops among Hurricanes defenders.
For the Anaheim organization, Pogge recorded 12 wins in 22 games for the AHL's San Antonio Rampage and a .920 save percentage.
This deal from my perspective was a steal for Carolina.
They notched on another potential-filled, young prospective goalie as well as a middle-round pick in exchange for an over-the-top, over-valued defenseman who had done little in the first three quarters of the season other than take up a roster spot.
Caps land Scott Walker for low pick
Despite his successes with the Hurricanes, it was time for Walker to go. After missing 21 games due to a shoulder surgery that will only fix it as much as modern science can, Walker will head to Washington with just five points in 33 games from the left wing position and a 36-year-old label stuck on him.
On the other hand, the 'Canes aren't going to get much in return, as the only booby prize is a pick in the 2010 draft that may very well end up being the last one in the entire event. Their seventh round pick is going to come from the Presidents' Cup leader at the moment and has a very low possibility of amounting to anything for the Hurricanes organization.
From a bigger standpoint, the Hurricanes were able to make another move to get young for old, but at least Walker's small impact would still be around. However, in Washington, Walker's appearance will be unnecessary and unneeded.
This deal is a forgettable one for both teams.
Capitals give up trio for 'Canes Joe Corvo
In likely the Hurricanes' biggest deal of the day, 32-year-old defenseman Joe Corvo will be lost in a move that will likely be a tough one to swallow. However, the Hurricanes will get a solid bunch in return, including defenseman Brian Pothier, prospect Oskar Osala, and a second round pick in 2011.
Corvo had missed three months of action after being cut by a skate in, ironically, a game against Washington in November, but had provided significant contributions in his three shortened seasons with Carolina after he was acquired (along with the now-departed Red Wing Patrick Eaves) from Ottawa.
The 32-year-old defenseman's 21 points in 23 games in the final bit of the season in which he was acquired was plenty to keep him with the Hurricanes. Corvo then became the leader of the defense and powerplay last season, as well as racking up 14 goals and 24 assists. Corvo also led the defense through tough times at the beginning of this year and additionally scored 12 total points.
His replacement will end up being former Caps defenseman Dustin Pothier, 31, who had established himself as a solid, conservative top-four defenseman in Washington over the past five seasons.
This year, Pothier has recorded 11 points and only 10 PIM to go along with an impressive +12 rating.
Pothier has experienced even more success in the past, however, as in the 2005-06 season where he racked up 35 points in 67 games and a shocking plus-29 rating with the Ottawa Senators.
The Hurricanes will also add Finnish left wing prospect Oskar Osala, 22, who has spent much of his time this season with the Hershey Bears of the AHL. A respectable second round pick for the draft after this upcoming one was also included in the deal.
While Carolina gave up a unshakable leader and powerplay producer in Corvo, the benefits seem to override the gains for Carolina in this one. Pothier is a year younger than Corvo and also has seen just as much, if not more, success in his past. The additions of Osala, who might just have a future with the Finnish-overrun Hurricanes, and a second rounder that shouldn't be forgotten turn out to be a great trio of additions for Carolina.
Hurricanes send Andrew Alberts to Vancouver for another pick
This trade is the first one that sends questions through my head. While I've never been much of a fan of physical Andrew Alberts, he fit the third defensive pairing nicely and may not have been worth a mediocre third round draft choice from an upper-tier team.
Alberts has only four goals and 366 penalty minutes in his NHL career (despite already being 28), with two of them coming this year. But he led the team with a plus-7 rating on the second-to-worst squad in the Eastern Conference and led the NHL in hits for much of the season. In return, the Hurricanes will land a pick that will probably not be any higher than the 90th selection.
While the pick will add another decent choice to the ever-expanding array of draft selections the Hurricanes are compiling, Alberts may have been under-valued. Still, this trade is probably not going to turn out to be a heartbreaker for either side.
Stephane Yelle Colorado-bound in Exchange for prospect & pick
While it's still not confirmed, TSN is reporting that the Hurricanes fifth and last pick of a busy deadline day will send veteran forward and penalty-killer Stephane Yelle, along with minor leaguer Harrison Reed, to the Colorado Avalanche. Carolina will acquire 21-year-old French Canadian center Cedric Lalonde-McNicoll and a low sixth-round pick in the upcoming draft.
Yelle has recovered from a slow start to the 2009-2010 season after being acquired in the '09 offseason from Boston and now stands with four goals, three assists, and a minus-6 rating (mostly due to his contributions of the penalty kill) in 59 games played. He never made it up above the lowest attack line, but Yelle had developed into a decent lower-level veteran for the Hurricanes.
Coming to Carolina will be junior player Lalonde-McNicoll, who has some potential to develop into a productive NHL center, as well as a sixth-round pick. Lalonde-McNicoll, 21, has a small 5'11" frame and has been spending most of his hockey time with the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL, netting 13 points in 45 games this season.
This trade brings in another prospect and low-lying pick, but Stephane Yelle had become decent enough that this trade isn't much of a steal for the Hurricanes. There's not much in the way of opinions that are likely to arise from this transaction.
If there are any more deals announced tonight, I'll keep the article updated. In the meantime, what are your opinions? Which trades worked out for Carolina, and which ones might turn out to be bone-head deals?
Mark Jones is currently Bleacher Report's featured columnist for the Carolina Hurricanes. In his 19 months so far with the site, he has written over 160 articles and received over 110,000 total reads.
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