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Devils Division Rival Shopping Another Star Wingers Rights

According to Elliotte Friedman, not only are the Carolina Hurricanes shopping Martin Necas, but now Jake Guentzel is on the trade block as well.

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New Jersey Devils
Carolina Hurricanes forward Jake Guentzel (59) is pictured during the first period of the National Hockey League Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Second Round game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Rangers on May 5, 2024 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)

The Carolina Hurricanes were a thorn in the New Jersey Devils’ side in the 2022-23 season. The Devils went 2-1-1 against their division rival in the regular season. However, they were dominated in the second round of the 2023 playoffs by Carolina who defeated the Devils in four out of five games to quickly eliminate them from the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Carolina was even more of a menace to the Devils in the 2023-24 season as New Jersey went 0-2-1 in three games against in the regular season against the Canes, albeit, New Jersey struggled all season. Now, the Hurricanes are reportedly making major changes and are shopping two of their star wingers.

We learned that Hurricanes forward Martin Necas desires a new start somewhere outside of Carolina via Necas’ Dad in a Czech report. According to Elliotte Friedman via 32 Thoughts the Podcast, Necas’ price tag is going to be quite high.

“With Necas, I wanted to address this too. Carolina is letting people know that they consider Necas a budding star and that’s the kind of return they want,” Friedman explained to Jeff Marek.

“A star that’s on the horizon, like a star that’s about to pop or someone who’s already established. Star power is what they want in return.”

Necas isn’t the only forward on Carolina’s trade block, however.

Friedman explained earlier in the podcast that star winger, Jake Guentzel, is available via trade as well.

“So it sounds like he’s available for a mid-round pick,” Friedman said. “I believe Carolina has let everybody know that if you want to trade for his rights for the chance to sign him, that it’s possible for a mid-round pick.

“I’m sure there’s a ton of interest. You’ve just got to know, do you think you’re going to get him?”

A mid-round pick for Guentzel’s rights is actually quite affordable, and the Devils do have a need to address in the top six forward group. However, the question is whether General Manager Tom Fitzgerald would want to pay Guentzel in his next contract what he’s looking for long-term. AFP Analytics projects a seven-year contract with a $9,278,660 average annual value via free agency for Guentzel.

Guentzel is a pending unrestricted free agent.

The Hurricanes acquired Guentzel from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Michael Bunting, forward prospects Vasily Ponomarev and Ville Koivunen. Guentzel also received the rights to forward Cruz Lucius, a conditional first-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2024 draft.

The expectation was the Carolina would sign Guentzel to an extension, however, it seems that is unlikely at this point.

There’s seemingly big changes coming to the Devils’ division rival. There’s a belief that the Hurricanes could challenge the Devils in a pursuit for Linus Ullmark if Fitzgerald opts to take the Boston Bruins trade route as opposed to the Calgary Flames and Jacob Markstrom.

Hurricanes interim GM Eric Tulsky has quite the job ahead of him this summer and if he pushes the wrong buttons, it could certainly benefit the Devils in the 2024-25 season.

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