The Flames and Hurricanes completed a blockbuster trade Saturday with Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland, Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin all on the move.
In a draft weekend blockbuster trade, the Carolina Hurricanes acquired defenseman Dougie Hamilton and forward Micheal Ferland from the Calgary Flames in exchange for forward Elias Lindholm and blueliner Noah Hanifin.
It wasn’t unexpected that the Hurricanes would unload two of their young pieces, as new ownership and front office management made it clear that they would be rebuilding from the ground up, and that meant the majority of the Carolina roster would be made available for the right price.
"We've gone nine years missing the playoffs," Hurricanes GM Don Waddell told the NHL Network. "[We] said in the offseason, we have new ownership [with] Tom Dundon; we needed to change up the culture a little bit.”
According to Waddell, this was a deal that had been in the works for four weeks but only came to a head on Saturday—it helped that the team’s tables were next to one another at the American Airlines Center in Dallas to help finalize things.
"I think they're a team on the rise," Hamilton said. "I'm excited to be a part of a young group … and help Carolina become a playoff team. It's going to be fun. I'm looking forward to it."
In Hamilton, Waddell adds a 6’6” defenseman coming off a season in which he scored a career-high 17 goals, but is already on his third NHL team after being the No. 9 pick in the 2011 draft. He began his career in Boston and was traded to Calgary during the 2015 draft weekend, taking a season to find some comfort with the Flames. He's developed into a steady defender, capable of 20 minutes of ice time per game, which will fit nicely in with a current defensive top-four on the Hurricanes that includes Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce, all 27 or younger, though any one of them may have a new home in the coming weeks. Faulk, along with forward Jeff Skinner, is among the top prizes on the roster and expected to generate plenty of interest around the league.
Dougie Hamilton, D
Elias Lindholm, F
The Canes deepen their pool of defensive prospects with Fox, the 66th pick in the 2016 draft, who will be returning to Harvard for his junior season. He’s posted 12 goals and 68 points in 64 games over his first two NCAA campaigns, impressing with his puckhandling and hockey smarts.
"We're really high on Adam Fox. He's a premier offensive defenseman at Harvard," Waddell said. "We think his upside is tremendous. That's a key piece as we move forward."
Ferland, 26, became something of a folk hero as a rookie in Calgary during the Flames’ 2015 playoff run and has turned into a reliable secondary scorer, posting career highs across the board in 2017-18 with 21 goals and 20 assists in 77 games.
Even with the big trade in the books, the Hurricanes are by no means done reshaping their roster—they've made it clear only forwards Sebastian Aho and Martin Necas are off limits to potential trade partners.
"We have some pretty good assets, we need to turn those into other assets,” Waddell said. “We felt that all three pieces are going to make our hockey club better not just today, but going into the future.”
The Flames, meanwhile, snag a couple of blossoming players who skated for new coach Bill Peters during his tenure in Carolina. Both are former No. 5 picks, with Lindholm being selected in 2013, while Hanifin went in the 2015 draft, and both are restricted free agents in need of new contracts.
Lindholm, a 23-year-old ultility forward, plays well at both ends of the ice and has scored at least 39 points in each of the last four seasons. Negotiations on an extension between the Swede and Carolina reportedly did not go well, forcing the team to ship him off while it focused on the rebuild. As per Matt Cane’s free agency predictions, Lindholm is expected to get a deal in the neighborhood of five years for $25 million.
Hanifin, meanwhile, played out the final season of his entry-level contract in 2017-18, leading Hurricanes defenseman with 10 goals and 22 assists on the season. The 21-year-old Boston native, projected as a top-pairing blueliner while at Boston College, has improved his point totals in each of his three NHL seasons. He’ll get a chance to continue to develop under the tutelage of veterans Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic on the Calgary blue line, and, according to Cane’s projections, is looking at a two-year bridge contract with an annual average value in the neighborhood of $2.3 million.
"This is a great situation for me," Hanifin said. "Obviously I became pretty close with some of the guys in Carolina. But at the end of the day, this is part of the game. I'm excited for the next chapter in my career and to be a part of the Canadian hockey culture."