There’s been a lot of smoke lately around the notion that if Toronto were to trade William Nylander that the Carolina Hurricanes would be very interested. On paper, Carolina has the pieces (see: a surplus of right-shot defensemen) to make such a move. While the young forward has multiple 60-point seasons under his belt already, I’m here today to play devil’s advocate and share reasons that the Canes shouldn’t trade for Nylander.

Trade for Nylander

Perhaps the word “reason” would be more accurate, as the biggest factor in why I don’t think Nylander should be a Hurricane is the cap situation. Thanks to CapFriendly, anyone can see a breakdown of every team’s cap situation and upcoming contracts. 

It’s far from a trade secret that Sebastian Aho needs a new contract at the end of the year, but he’s not alone. Teuvo Teravainen and Micheal Ferland are on the last year of their current deals. Same for Justin Williams, Jordan Martinook, Brock McGinn, Haydn Fleury, and whichever of McIlhenney or Mrazek is on the roster at the end of the season. 

Of the above names, Teuvo and Ferland are going to get significant raises, Fleury is probably looking at some sort of bridge deal, Williams might have another year left in the tank, and Martinook/McGinn/(insert goalie) aren’t really big players in terms of salary. 

Here are my (likely horrible) guesses as to some of the new cap hits we’ll see next season:

Aho: 7.5M (current: 925K)

Teuvo: 6.1M (current: 2.86M)

Ferland: 4.5M (current:1.75M)

If my guesses are anywhere near right (again, they probably won’t be), the Canes are looking at adding $12.5 MILLION DOLLARS to the payroll next year just with new contracts for those three. Fleury’s new deal will probably be an incremental increase, and if Williams re-signs, I would assume his decrease in salary will offset that.

(ed. note: totally forgot about outgoing money. Added this piece here to include that) Current rumors typically mention Brett Pesce going the other way in the trade. If that’s the case, it opens up just north of $4 million in cap room. Even with those numbers taken into account, I still see several roadblocks to making the numbers work.

Assuming all of the above falls exactly as I predict and the salary cap doesn’t skyrocket, the Canes would have anywhere from six to eight (or 10 to 12-13 if Pesce leaves) or nine million Dollars of cap room. While that’s more than Stan Bowman can ever remember having, it does make things trickier for GM Voltron here in Raleigh.

“But, Derek” I hear you say, “I’ve read that Nylander is looking for a long-term deal that would fit under the cap. What the hell is your problem? Don’t you want more talent on this team?” To that, I say, one, watch your tone. And secondly, next year isn’t the one I’m really worried about. I’m worried about how everything would work in the 2020-21 and more importantly the 2021-22 seasons. 

Yes, I’m looking way down the line here, but when you have a team who’s selling fans on “we have so much young talent” it’s hard not to think of the future as much, if not more than, the present. Also, our goaltending doesn’t exactly say “win now” but that’s another story for another day. 

Here are the players who will need new contracts, all RFA unless otherwise noted, down the line (yes, I know not all will stay here, but work with me here)

Needs deal for 2020: Foegele, Roy, Wallmark, Zykov, Faulk (UFA), van Riemsdyk (UFA)

Needs deal for 2021: SVECH (should be a hefty pay rise), Dougie, Darling (or insert whoever will be our starting goalie). and probably Necas

All those contracts for young guys who are currently making far under a million per season are going to throw the team budget for a loop. Unless we want to start filling the bottom six with bottom feeders, I can’t see everything working out. For that reason, I just don’t see a place on this team for William Nylander while keeping some of Zykov, Foegele, and so on as part of the roster. This organization has spent years building the pipeline with quality talent up front and on the blue line.