Hurricanes GM Waddell vows to explore trade market ahead of July 1
It appears the Carolina Hurricanes could make their biggest moves of the off-season ahead of July 1.
Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said Wednesday he will be exploring possible trades to improve his team before the league's free-agent market opens.
“We've talked a lot about it — we really like our team," Waddell said Wednesday. "We don't have a lot of holes, but we have some areas we'd like to address if possible.
“I still think the trade route is something we're going to explore very heavily before free agency. We're in the same spot this year where we do have cap space to work with and there's a lot of teams that are in cap jail. So we'll make sure we talk to all the teams and see what's potentially out there.”
The Hurricanes are no stranger to major moves under Waddell, having acquired Brent Burns and Max Pacioretty on the trade market last summer and adding Jesperi Kotkaniemi via an offer sheet in 2021.
Carolina made the playoffs for the fifth straight season this year, reaching the Eastern Conference Final before being swept by the Florida Panthers.
Waddell said he may pursue size as he looks to get the Hurricanes over the hump this summer.
"We'd like to get a little heavier, if possible," Waddell said of one way the team could improve this off-season.
The Hurricanes have 13 players slated for unrestricted free agency, headlined by captain Jordan Staal and goaltenders Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta.
"Both goalies want to come back, we know that," Waddell added. "...We just want to make sure we do our due diligence, not only on our guys but [also] make sure we know what the options are."
Pacioretty's timeline unknown
Waddell did not close the door on pending UFA Pacioretty returning to the team, but said his timeline for recovery from an Achilles injury remains unclear.
The 34-year-old winger tore his Achilles for the second time in less than a year in January, ending his first season with the Hurricanes after just five games. He had three goals in those limited games prior to the injury.
The New Canaan, Conn., native has 326 goals and 645 points over 855 games with the Hurricanes, Vegas Golden Knights and Montreal Canadiens.