Overnight, the Carolina Hurricanes traded a future second and a third round draft pick to the Blackhawks in return for Bryan Bickell (uh oh) and Teevo Teravainen (oooh). This trade is interesting for both sides, but most notably the Hurricanes, despite CHI attaining the obvious advantage of shedding an onerous contract.
Carolina, due to its financial woes, are actually $8mm under the salary floor (yes there is one) and need to spend some money. As a result, they were able to take on the $4mm Bickell contract from Chicago, but in the process secure themselves what could be a wonderful young talent in Teravainen (+2.59 AB). This deal by itself is nothing earth-shattering for the Canes in terms of AB gained; Bickell only played 25 games last year and his AB was neutral, while Teravainen’s +2.59 would also have been roughly neutral had he played on CAR for the season instead of a high AB team like CHI.
However, the value in this deal for the Hurricanes is that these two former Blackhawks, when/if healthy, likely result in two better-than-replacement players for Brad Malone (a UFA) and Brock McGinn (an AHL talent for now). Between them, these two players cost CAR 17 goals at the margin and therefore possibly a playoff spot (or close to it).
According to our work, and in the scenario where they shed Malone and McGinn, CAR would no longer have any players on their roster who are among the NHLs worst in our metric (although their D is still mistake prone, they are far less so than many other teams). If the Canes could find additional scoring, now that Eric Staal is gone (for good?), they are about 10mm away from being a serious playoff contender (Stamkos?). With the Bickell signing, they only have $4mm “must spend dollars,” but with an incremental 6mm, CAR could likely find and/or trade for some help up front.
From a Return on Investment Standpoint, the Hurricanes who lost $14mm in 2014-15, only played to 72% of capacity in that season. At a $61 average ticket price, that amounts to over 12mm over the course of the season in unused capacity. Ouch. Moreover, CAR fans spend $3 for every one dollar they spend on tickets on HRR. Now we are talking $36mm by not playing at full capacity. Triple Ouch. Calling Steven Stamkos……
We have gone into depth with this team in the past, and the problems we outlined still persist. However, management has constructed a reasonably good club on paper and will probably continue to do so. However, nothing short of a very consistent winner will attract the marginal hockey fan in Raleigh to see this team given the difficulty of getting to the arena, cost, other sports entertainment alternatives in the area, and perceived quality of the team. At least the latter, in our view has taken another step forward with this trade.