It’s almost late January, so that means it’s just about time for Silly Season™️ to take over and for trade talks to be heating up nearly every day, if not multiple times per day.
Over at The Athletic ($$) , Pierre LeBrun mentions the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins possibly looking to make a deal yet again.
First, let’s update Ferland. The pending UFA winger is all but gone. The only way he stays put is if there’s breakthrough in talks between the two sides but I don’t see that happening at this point. Depending on who you talk to, it’s either because his salary demands are too rich for the ‘Canes or simply because he’d like to test the July 1 market which hey, is certainly his right.
The two teams have swapped players multiple times in recent years, and it made sense in the past given Jim Rutherford’s previous ties to the organization. Under a new ownership group, those ties may not be as solid as they once were, but I still think Rutherford likes dealing with teams that he has a history trading with.
While you can name almost any top contender and link that team to Ferland — he’d be a heck of an addition for any top contender — a new team to throw in the mix which I hadn’t heard before now is the Penguins. You know veteran GM Jim Rutherford is always active ahead of the deadline, and he’s already made a few deals this season, but I hear that Ferland is among the targets for Pittsburgh if there’s a deal that makes sense. Again, Rutherford’s not alone. Most contending teams have pending UFA power forwards like Ferland and Wayne Simmonds on their wish list.
As I’ve reported before, I think the Hurricanes would want a first-round pick and a prospect in a Ferland trade.
As far as the projected return on Ferland goes....I don’t know. I am not a fan of trading 1st-round picks for rentals, but at the same time, the Penguins are in a position where they need to at least consider making splash moves and doing what it takes to keep the Cup window open as long as they can.
My personal preference would be to seek out a deal in advance of the trade deadline (like Jim Rutherford does all too often) where a 1st-round pick could be used to acquire a player with even a year or two term left on his deal. The trades that were made for David Perron, and the subsequent flipping of him for Carl Hagelin come to mind.
If the projected price for a player like Ferland is what it ends up to be, he’s a good player who I think would fit the Penguins mold well. Time will tell whether this comes to fruition or just ends up being noise.