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Hurricanes' Waddell not rushing to make trade with Pacioretty's cap space

Max Pacioretty Brent Burns Carolina Hurricanes Max Pacioretty and Brent Burns - The Canadian Press

With veteran winger Max Pacioretty sidelined from the remainder of the season, the Carolina Hurricanes could be ready to make a splash in the trade market with his $7 million cap hit on the shelf.

The Hurricanes have yet to move Pacioretty to long-term injured reserve, but doing so would leave the team with upwards of $10 million in space, per CapFriendly.

General manager Don Waddell told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun in The Athletic that while the team will explore the trade market, he's not in a rush to get a move done.

“We certainly are in a different position because now we have cap space,” Waddell said. “But we still really like our team. We’re going to look and see if there’s anything that makes sense moving forward. But we’re otherwise not out there looking to make a deal just to make a deal.”

The Hurricanes, who had Pacioretty in the lineup for just five games this season due to injuries, currently sit first in the Metropolitan Division, two points ahead of the New Jersey Devils. The team is on track to make the playoffs for a fifth straight season, a streak that has followed a nine-year drought.

LeBrun reported last week that the Hurricanes have held trade talks with the Vancouver Canucks on Bo Horvat, but the price remained too high for discussions to advance.

"The Canucks continue to explore what the trade market looks like for, really, their No. 1 guy that could be dealt; that’s Bo Horvat, the captain," LeBrun said. "He’s having a career year and they’ve pretty much checked in with almost every contender. One of them being, I’m told, the Carolina Hurricanes. A lot of people like the Hurricanes as a fit for Horvat. Remember, Carolina struggled offensively in the playoffs last year. Well, what a boost it could be. And he skates, which is what that team is about in terms of speed. But the price is too steep, I think, for the Hurricanes at this point.

"As we reported last month, the Canucks would want a young centre as part of a multi-asset package. They’re not getting Martin Necas from the Hurricanes. Carolina doesn’t spend high on rentals traditionally. I don’t think they’ll break that path here for Bo Horvat. So, we’ll see where this goes."

LeBrun wrote in the Athletic Tuesday that while pending unrestricted free agents Horvat, Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko will likely lead the trade bait board, restricted free agent Timo Meier of the San Jose Sharks could be an option Carolina looks into. 

Meier, 26, has 27 goals and 47 points in 48 games this season. Selected ninth overall in the 2015 draft, he carries a cap hit of $6 million.

“That’s very fair, yeah,” Waddell said of LeBrun's notion the team has avoided high prices in the rental market in the past. “We prefer to trade for players that have term. Our history has been that we haven’t been a team to look at upgrades through rental players.”