Just six weeks after he was named the General Manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, Don Waddell is already very busy.
It seems like Jeff Skinner’s name has been floating around the trade market for a number of years now, but talks sound like they are heating up. Waddell was on Hockey Central at noon today and addressed a potential Skinner deal.
“It’s no secret that we put his name out there and we’ve gotten a lot of interest. He’s a big asset for us and we’ve got to make sure that we get some kind of assets that we feel are either going to help us today or in the future for a guy like Jeff [Skinner]” — Waddell
Skinner has one-year left on a deal that carries a $5.725 million cap-hit before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next July. The 26-year-old had trouble with concussions early in his career, but has only missed three games over the last three years and 19 games over the last five seasons. During that five-year stretch, Skinner is tied for 16th in the NHL in goals (140) and tied for 72nd in points (248).
Skinner has also been one of the best possession players in the NHL in recent years. This past season he had a 55.8 CorsiFor% and a 1.6 relative Corsi while playing on the best possession team in hockey. While that didn’t translate into great results for the Hurricanes, a team trading for Skinner knows they are getting a great top-6 winger with 30-goal, 60-point upside.
It should come as no surprise that Waddell is also working on getting restricted free agent defenseman Noah Hanfin signed. Hanifin, who is entering his fourth NHL season, is another name that has sparked rumours in recent weeks but the Hurricanes’ GM tried to put out the fire before it gets started.
“It came out in the media that we were trading Hanifin and then my phone started ringing off the hook. Our goal is to get him signed to a long-term deal.” — Waddell
Hanifin is coming off of his best season yet, having scored 10 goals with 22 assists (32 points) in 79 games. The Boston native has only missed seven games in his first three years and has played more and more with each passing season. While playing on a team with the top Corsi, Hanifin posted a 2.8 relative Corsi (best among CAR D-men), but some of that could have been aided by a sheltered 63.1 percent offensive-zone starts.
Hanifin is still just 21-years-old and coming into his own in the NHL, so it comes as no surprise that teams would be calling about his services. However, look for the 6-foot-3, 206 lbs. blueliner to remain in Carolina for next season and many years after that.
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