The Canes made a mid-playoffs trade yesterday when they sent prospect defenseman Adam Fox to the New York Rangers in return for a 2019 2nd round pick (37th overall) and a conditional 3rd round pick in 2020. The conditions of the 3rd round pick are that it becomes a 2nd if Fox plays in 30 games in the 2019-2020 season. That’s incredibly likely given that he is expected to slot into their top-4 out of the gate. It’s pretty safe to assume that the 2020 pick will also be a 2nd rounder.
For the second year in a row now, the Canes have made a trade during playoffs. Only this time, they are currently competing. Playoff trading is an uncommon practice, but it still happens occasionally.
What’s the point of the NHL trade deadline if teams can trade after the fact?
In the NHL, teams may continue to move assets after the deadline, but the kicker is that those pieces aren’t eligible for the postseason. You rarely, if ever, see players being moved after the deadline for that reason. If a trade is made, it usually involves picks or prospects, assets not contributing right now anyway.
The Canes initially acquired Fox from Calgary at the draft last summer when they sent Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin to the Flames in return for Micheal Ferland, Dougie Hamilton, and the rights to Fox.
The Flames drafted Fox 66th overall in 2016, but he wasn’t interested in playing for Calgary, so he opted for college hockey at Harvard. Upon acquiring his rights, the Canes thought they may be able to get the offensively minded defenseman signed, but again, he deferred. It was long speculated that he wanted to play for his hometown New York Rangers, but he would never publicly admit it.
It all works out in the end, though. Fox will see NHL ice much sooner with the Rangers since they are rebuilding and don’t have the defensive depth the Canes do. The Canes get more assets to work with this summer and rid themselves of a player that displayed signs of attitude issues. In addition to their own 2nd round pick, the Canes hold Buffalo’s 36th pick, which they acquired in last summer’s Skinner trade. To that, they add the Rangers’ 37th pick.
Holding 3 of the first 37 picks this summer presents the Canes with options. They could utilize all of the picks and search for another 2nd round gem. The Canes have made good on 2nd round picks before. Sebastian Aho says “hi.” Another option the Canes have would be to trade these picks to move up in the draft. However, I’m not a huge fan of either of those options since the general consensus is that this draft class weakens rather quickly.
What I’d like to see the Canes do is package one or both of the 2nd round picks along with one of their defensemen to land another top-6 forward. Preferably, it would be a right-handed forward with finishing ability and term on his contract. I’ll keep an open mind though since we do have a crop of righties with NHL potential developing in Charlotte. So, just give me the best bang for the buck if the Canes go the trade route.
Regardless of how the Canes decide to manage their draft picks this summer, one thing is for certain. The Fox trade, like previous moves, was a smart one made with the future in mind. The return was excellent considering they could have lost him for nothing had they continued to play hardball with Fox’s camp. Well done, Canes’ management.