Trade speculation: Is Carolina looking to deal?

It's no secret that the Carolina Hurricanes have had a disappointing start to their season this year. After making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, the 'Canes are last in the league right now, and lost their thirteenth in a row last night. They've recently signed Manny Legace and placed defenceman Tim Conboy on waivers, but don't count on that being all the roster moves Carolina does if their play doesn't turn around.

First off, this is all trade speculation. I have no secret sources, this is not based on any sources (real or, more likely, imagined) I've contacted. Looking at the two situations, though, it's obvious that both Carolina and the Ottawa Senators will want to make a move, and the sooner each one does it, the better it is for their hopes of righting their ship and perhaps getting some momentum going. Is it possible these two teams, who've got recent history of fairly big deals, could be talking to each other again these days?

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Short answer: It is possible. I don't know if it's likely, but if they are talking, there are a few names the Senators could probably be interested in. First and foremost, a name that has been mentioned in rumours for a while now, is former Senators defenceman Joe Corvo. Is it even fathomable that Corvo could return to the city he requested a trade out of? Well, he doesn't have a no-trade clause, so it wouldn't really be up to him. Although he's got his defensive liabilities, he's no less reliable than Alex Picard, Chris Campoli, or Brian Lee, and he's got a more substantial short-term offensive upside, especially when we're talking powerplay production. Corvo alongside Filip Kuba on the man-advantage would be a solid top pairing, and would give Ottawa a big shot from the point that, unless they were to bump Daniel Alfredsson or some other forward back there, the Senators are lacking. He's on the final year of a contract the Sens signed him to a couple seasons back, with a cap hit of only $2.65M; it'd be a low-risk pickup, although it wouldn't be without its criticism (why reacquire a player who didn't want to be here two years ago?).

More attractive, though, would be Joni Pitkanen, but--assuming he'd even be available (which is a big assumption)--he'd have a much higher asking price than Corvo. Also, with two more years at a cap hit of $4M per, it might make a possible contract extension for Anton Volchenkov difficult to fit under the salary cap structure for the Senators.

At forward, the Hurricanes have a few interesting pieces that might fill out the Senators' top-six forward ranks. Wingers Jussi Jokinen and Sergei Samsonov both have some scoring ability, but lack an all-important asset the Senators desperately need: Consistency. We have wingers like Jonathan Cheechoo and Alex Kovalev to pick and choose nights to show up, what Ottawa needs is players who can be more reliable. Samsonov has two years at $2.53M and Jokinen's got two at $1.7M, so neither presents a huge obligation (although it's nothing to scoff at, either).

More interesting could be Erik Cole, who has been, well, awful so far, with just one point in seven games. He's a big forward, though, and might give the Senators a good option for net presence on the powerplay. He's streaky, too, which isn't great, but maybe his streak will begin with a change of scenery.

Finally, is Tuomo Ruutu available? Because there could be some interesting familial magic if he is. Jarkko Ruutu obviously already plays here, and there's another brother who's a coach in the Sens' organization. Tuomo, a more skilled player than Jarkko, still has some of the same gumption, but balances it very well with offensive output.

As I said before, this is all speculation. But there's an opportunity here for a trade, and Senators' GM Bryan Murray is never afraid to pull the trigger if he sees a good deal for this team. With a surplus of middling forwards and low-pairing (but young) defenceman, the Senators could put together a half-decent package to tempt Carolina into a deal.

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