Red Wings Trade Partners: Carolina Hurricanes

The ‘16/’17 season is over for the Detroit Red Wings, whose impressive 25-year playoff streak finally came to its end. For many fans, this season marks the team’s need for a shift in direction- a rebuild. While the Red Wings hope to retool their lineup through the draft (Detroit drafts ninth this year, its highest pick since Keith Primeau was selected in 1990), Ken Holland should also consider moving some of the Wings’ talent to acquire future assets. The Carolina Hurricanes present a potential partner here.

Why They Would Trade

The Carolina Hurricanes have not made the playoffs since the ‘08/’09 season, and are hoping to end this drought soon. The Hurricanes strongest asset is their young defensive core. Young defenders Justin Faulk (25), Jaccob Slavin (23), Brett Pesce (22), and Noah Hanifin (20) round out one of the most impressive young bluelines in the league. After addressing their goaltending needs with a trade for Chicago’s Scott Darling, Carolina will be expected to improve their offense, which finished 21st in goals last season. This presents the Red Wings with an opportunity to trade a forward for one of the Hurricanes’ more expendable defensive prospects.

Who They Would Trade

1. Haydn Fleury
6’3” 221 lbs Shoots: Left
7/8/1996 Carlyle, SK

Fleury was selected 7th overall by the Hurricanes in the 2014 draft. While his potential has been overshadowed by the emergence of defenders like Slavin and Hanifin, Fleury remains a valuable young player. Haydn put up respectable numbers in his first season in the AHL. In 69 games, he recorded 7 goals and 19 assists on a Charlotte Checkers team with few offensive assets. His size and skating ability, coupled with respectable offensive production, could make him an important part of the Red Wings’ future defensive core. Fleury likely won’t become an elite, number one defender, but he has the potential to grow into a strong number two or three option.

Pros: size, skating, ability to neutralize skilled forwards

Cons: not expected to quarterback the power-play, typo-prone first name

2.  Roland McKeown
6’1” 195 lbs Shoots: Right
1/20/1996 Listowel, ON

In 2015, the Hurricanes traded Andrej Sekera (D) to the Los Angeles Kings for McKeown and a conditional first round draft pick. Like Fleury, 21 year-old Roland McKeown played his first season in the AHL this year, producing a more modest 1 goal and 10 assists. Traditionally, he has been praised for his well-roundedness and offensive ability. In his last OHL season, McKeown averaged almost a point per game with the Kingston Frontenacs. Players commonly struggle in their first year of professional hockey, so it would not be unreasonable to expect Roland’s performance to improve next season. His underwhelming year in the AHL likely makes him a riskier prospect than Fleury, but the Red Wings might be attracted by the possibility of an offensive right-handed defenseman.

Pros: well-rounded game, offensive potential

Cons: difficulty adjusting to AHL hockey, looks like he could steal your girlfriend
3. Jake Bean
6’1” 172 lbs Shoots: Left
6/9/1998 Calgary, AB

Carolina selected Jake Bean 13th overall in last year’s draft. In the ‘15/’16 WHL season, Bean set a Calgary Hitmen franchise record with 24 goals as a defenseman. He missed the beginning of last year with a broken finger, but played excellently the second half of the season. Bean averaged over a point per game in ‘16/’17, producing 8 goals and 37 assists in 43 games. These numbers placed him 3rd in points per game among WHL defensemen. Despite his offensive prowess, his coaches laud his defensive positioning and stick work. While it remains unclear how Bean’s game will translate professionally, his performance in the WHL indicates his potential to be a top-pairing defenseman.


4. Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin, Noah Hanifin

Probably not possible. Faulk is a bona-fide #1 defenseman, and is unlikely to be traded for any price. Slavin and Hanifin would be expensive, and any realistic trade would probably require Anthony Mantha and more from the Red Wings. A deal like this, if even possible, seems impractical for a team that needs young scorers almost as badly as defensemen.

Who They Would Want

In a trade with the Hurricanes, the Red Wings would have to ship out some of their talented forwards. Although Carolina has an excess of defensemen, they would have no problem making a deal with a team like Dallas, Toronto, or Edmonton if Detroit does not put forward a competitive offer. In this case, Tomas Tatar seems like the likely centerpiece of a trade. Tatar’s performance was a bright spot in a generally unimpressive Red Wings’ season, as the Slovakian winger put up 25 goals and 21 assists. On the Hurricanes’ roster only Jeff Skinner scored more goals than Tatar, making Tomas an attractive piece for Carolina. At 26 years old, Tatar’s prime could largely coincide with an improving Carolina team.

Tatar’s counterpart Gustav Nyquist would be another trade option here, but Nyquist is less enticing with only 12 goals last season and a near 5 million dollar contract through 2019. Both teams have picks which could sweeten a prospective deal. One of Detroit’s four 3rd round picks or Carolina’s three 2nd round picks in this upcoming draft could easily be swapped.

Why It Will Happen

A trade involving Tatar and one of Carolina’s defensemen would address both Carolina’s need for prime scoring talent and Detroit’s need for legitimate defensive prospects. Neither team is directly competitive at the moment, and should not have to worry about improving the other. Carolina is facing pressure to improve sooner than later, and Detroit needs to restock on defense in order to compete in the future. A pretty modest trade here could improve both teams overall outlook.

Why It Won’t Happen

It’s possible that some bad blood remains between both organizations’ ownership. The Illitch and Karmanos ownership groups have a competitive history in Michigan, and the Hurricanes 1998 offer sheet resulted in the Red Wings paying Sergei Fedorov 28 million dollars that season. The Hurricanes have also developed a bit of a pattern in claiming Red Wings’ castoffs in waivers. It is possible that Detroit sees Tatar as an important part of their future, and it seems doubtful that a deal gets done without him. Nonetheless, it is likely that both organizations could overcome these obstacles if a mutually beneficial deal were on the line.

Possible Deals

DET receives: Haydn Fleury, 2017 2nd round pick
CAR receives: Tomas Tatar, 2017 3rd round pick

DET receives: Roland McKeown
CAR receives: Gustav Nyquist

DET receives: Jake Bean
CAR receives: Tomas Tatar

This article was written by Owen Peters ( )

Picture Source:

1) Ken Holland (2017) CBS Detroit

 2) Tomas Tatar (2015 Training Camp)