The Ottawa Senators and Carolina Hurricanes haven’t concocted a trade together since 2010, when the Sens acquired Matt Cullen for Alexandre Picard and a 2nd round pick (because of course if was a 2nd round pick). Today they reassembled their relationship by acquiring veteran forward Viktor Stalberg in exchange for a 3rd round selection in the 2017 draft. Senior writer at Canes Country Brett Finger answers some questions about Stalberg, and how this trade affects the Hurricanes. Let’s begin!
Q: Stalberg hasn't been in Carolina for very long, only being signed this past offseason. What role was he been playing in the lineup for the Canes, and can we expect him to do the same for the Senators?
BF: Stalberg really fit well into Carolina's system. He's a fast, physical, defensively responsible player that can provide some offensive flare from time to time. He was a perfect fourth-line player for the Hurricanes and was a top forward on Carolina's league-best penalty kill. Many were clamoring for him to play up into the top-nine, but that never really happened here. I think he has the skillset to play on the third line, if need be, and make a solid impact on both ends of the ice.
Q: What part of Stalberg's game do you like the most? What part do you like the least?
BF: His combination of speed and size makes him a tough player to handle. He isn't afraid to lay a big hit or go into the corners to win board battles. There really isn't a whole lot to not like about Stalberg. He doesn't really make mistakes, he's responsible in all areas, and he has that aforementioned blend of size and speed. If there's one thing to nitpick about Stalberg, maybe it's that he doesn't really excel offensively. He likely won't be a consistent point producer, unless he is able to thrive in a top-nine role.
Q: Carolina has become a clear seller at the deadline, previously trading Ron Hainsy to Pittsburgh. Where is this franchise heading in their future, and how does this trade play into it?
BF: The Hurricanes continued to stockpile draft picks with this trade. They added a 2017 second rounder in the Hainsey trade and now they have Ottawa's third rounder in June. That's now seven picks in the first three rounds (one in the first, three in the second, three in the third) of the 2017 draft and 11 picks total, which is the most in the league. There's a slim to none chance that Carolina actually drafts with all 11 picks. Instead, it is more likely that Carolina packages picks and maybe one of their many young blueliners for an area of need - a first line center or a starting goalie. General Manager Ron Francis has made it clear that this team will not be a one-year wonder. He is building a perennial playoff team and it seems like next year could be the beginning of that if they can add one or two pieces. Any trade that he makes will be for the betterment of this team's future. He has a lot of options.
Q: I know it's been a brief relationship, but is there any particular moment from Viktor Stalberg in Carolina (on or off the ice) that stands out?
BF: Viktor Stalberg has been a dangerous breakaway threat, both at even-strength and on the penalty kill. His speed is just so dangerous. He put that on display recently against the Penguins.
In that same game, he uh... didn't like that he got a slashing penalty. The ref didn't like his reaction to the call, so he busted into the penalty box like the Kool-Aid man.
Perhaps this goal is fresh in Sens fans' memories.