In the early parts of the season, Rod Brind’Amour’s lineup often featured seven defenseman with either Tony DeAngelo or Jalen Chatfield being the odd man in the pairings.
With the absence of Andrei Svechnikov and an early injury to Sebastian Aho, this lineup structure certainly made sense and played to their strengths while lacking forward depth.
Now, Svechnikov has returned from ACL surgery and Aho has been available for the past two weeks, but the injury to Brett Pesce has prevented any real and permanent changes to the lineup.
Carolina now trots out a 12 forward, six defenseman lineup with Chatfield on the second line alongside Skjei, while DeAngelo is on the third defensive pairing with Dmitry Orlov.
But, with Pesce expected back within the next two weeks, playing seven defenseman will not be an option and the Hurricanes will be forced to make a decision between Chatfield and DeAngelo.
According to Elliotte Friedman, that answer may not involve sitting one of the blue liners, but utilizing the trade market to gain a return for a defenseman.
“With Brett Pesce coming back from injury, there is word that Carolina is looking to move a defenseman,” said Friedman on Hockey Night in Canada. “The name I’m hearing a lot is Tony DeAngelo, but there are other things that the Carolina Hurricanes will potentially consider.”
Trading away a player Carolina went through multiple hoops to acquire this offseason makes the initial move a headscratcher. DeAngelo has struggled this season and is on an expiring contract, which is why a potential trade of the 28-year old makes perfect sense.
DeAngelo has tallied five assists on the season, but also carries a +/- of -7, the second lowest on the team. He was also brought in to quarterback the No. 1 power play unit, but even without his presence on the ice, Carolina has been successful on the man advantage.
Jalen Chatfield is also on an expiring contract, but his style of play of speed and aggressiveness complements the Hurricanes’ blue line much better than the offensive style of DeAngelo.
Defense has been the main issue for Carolina and in many cases the pairing of Orlov and DeAngelo has been an area of weakness. For Orlov, it is no surprise that getting adjusted to Rod Brind’Amour’s system has taken some time.
There is a learning curve and no matter how talented of a defenseman Orlov is, you couldn’t have expected his development to happen quickly.
Exploring trade options for DeAngelo is a decision that benefits the Hurricanes. A pairing of Orlov and Chatfield once Pesce returns is much more valuable to Carolina and it allows for Chatfield to further cement his place in Raleigh prior to hitting free agency.
After all, scoring has not been a problem for the Hurricanes, whose 42 goals through 12 contests rank sixth in the NHL and third in the eastern conference.
So, why employ a pairing of Orlov and DeAngelo, which is a more offensive duo?
Until something comes to fruition these trade rumors are in fact just rumors, but it does seem as if Carolina is certainly eyeing a potential deal.
Once Brett Pesce returns to the lineup, it is certainly worth keeping an eye on DeAngelo’s availability and what the Hurricanes will look to get in return if there is a deal to be made.