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Is Carolina a playoff team?

With a 23-18-6 record, the Carolina Hurricanes currently sit two points out of eighth place in the East. (Getty Images)

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With a 23-18-6 record, the Carolina Hurricanes currently sit two points out of eighth place in the East. (Getty Images)

With Evgeni Nabokov signed by Detroit late Thursday night, another goalie has entered a flooded netminding market. There’s no assurance Nabokov will clear waivers – just ask twice-bitten Blues GM Doug Armstrong – but as I noted in last week’s mailbag, those who believe another goalie (such as Florida’s Tomas Vokoun or Toronto’s J-S Giguere) will be able to fetch a top prospect or player in a trade are fooling themselves.

But don’t fool yourself into thinking I haven’t received more goalie-trading questions, or trading-related questions in general. There are a couple of them this week, in addition to the usual hodgepodge of inquiries. Thanks again for all your submissions.

Hi Adam, with Cory Schneider's strong play of late, as well as getting most of the starts, do you think the Canucks should or will trade Roberto Luongo?
Tommy McConnachie, Trail, B.C.


Hi Tommy,

No, I don’t think the Canucks should trade Luongo - and even if they wanted to, there is no way they’d be able to offload the 11 years (at a cap hit of $5.33 million per season) still remaining on his mammoth contract. Unless Luongo starts posting shutouts each and every game, no GM in his right mind would take that deal on.

Would Schneider give them similar goaltending at a much cheaper price? It certainly seems so, but the Canucks made a strategic choice and now must live with it. Besides, even if the stars aligned properly and Vancouver GM Mike Gillis did find a taker for Luongo, you know Schneider would be hurt the day after the trade.

For better or worse (or until a new labor deal offers an amnesty buyout period), the Canucks and Luongo are attached at the hip.

Adam, I am a big Sharks fan and recently have watched them falter and lose six straight. To turn things around, GM Doug Wilson was able to acquire Kyle Wellwood and trade for Ben Eager. I know that there have been recent trade rumors linking the Sharks to Francois Beauchemin, but what other possible trades or moves do you think could help the Sharks get back in playoff contention?
Matthew Welch, Westwood, Mass.


Matthew,

As I said on Twitter the other day, unless Wilson is literally going to physically combine Eager and Wellwood, I don’t think those acquisitions are going to propel the Sharks to bigger and better things.

San Jose appears to need more sandpaper on its blueline, which is why Beauchemin’s name continues to be linked with the Sharks. Ottawa veteran Chris Phillips (an unrestricted free agent in the summer) is expected to be in play for interested teams and I think San Jose would be one of them.

Wilson normally doesn’t believe in making huge additions/alterations at the trade deadline; it will be intriguing to see whether the pressure of winning with his core group of Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley makes him abandon that stance. But as I’ve said previously, with so many teams still having at least a theoretical shot at a playoff berth, I doubt there will be many, if any, real difference-makers available.

Hey Adam, do you think that Taylor Hall is really living up to his standards in Edmonton? He did pass Dustin Penner on the top of the Oilers’ scoring list (he’s now two points behind), but is he doing what everyone thought he would?
Josh Vinn, Edmonton


Hey Josh,

Let me answer that with a question for you: if you saw a toddler taking his first steps, would you attempt to pass judgment on what he’d be for the rest of his life? Would you say, “hey, looks like he’s doing what we thought he would”, or “man, what a disappointment”?

Of course you wouldn’t; you’d wait for a number of years, allow him to grow and learn and get better before you rendered your verdict.

That’s how I feel about Hall and, for that matter, every young NHLer. In our fast food society, we want everything right this minute, including answers about young athletes. That may satisfy us for the moment, but it doesn’t provide the proper mental nutrition that gives us a definitive picture.

In other words, patience, my friend.

Hey Adam, how are you feeling about my Hurricanes this year? Do you think that their hot play is going to continue and take them into the playoffs? Also, do you think any trades could/should come Carolina's way?
Matt Rod, St. Kitts, Ont.


Hey Matt,

I had the Canes pegged as a playoff team (8th in the Eastern Conference) in my pre-season picks; after a slow start to the year, that’s the area they’re currently near and the area I expect them to remain in.

Unlike last season, captain Eric Staal and goalie Cam Ward have been healthy and that will have to continue for Carolina to stay in post-season contention. As for trades, the preference of GM Jim Rutherford has been to make them as early in the year as possible in order to give the team time to adjust to change; seeing as they’re looking for new owners to help out Peter Karmanos, I doubt they have the wherewithal to take on a lot of salary in any deal, so I’d guess the Canes only tinker with their lineup, if they do anything at all.

Hello Adam. I should have wrote in this question after reading a previous Ask Adam article because now I cannot find the writer/article to refer back to. Sometime last year a writer wrote about his frustration in how NHL awards are given out with examples such as Hart: player with the most points; Selke: player with the most points and least PIM; Norris: defenseman with the most points.

Now, my question is what frustrates you more: the way the NHL incorrectly nominates/hands out their awards or the secretive voting results of Hockey Hall Of Fame members?
Anthony Kelly, Whitby, Ont.


Hello Anthony,

Good question. For me, the Star Chamber that is the HHOF induction committee is far worse than members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association who have such simplistic formulas when they vote on year-end awards.

If those writers are decent journalists, they should be basing their vote in part on the talks they have with players, coaches, GMs and scouts in the NHL community. As well, more and more of us are making our ballots public knowledge after we file them. I think all of us should, but I think we’ll get there eventually.

The HHOF, on the other hand, committed one of the most brutal voting crimes in recent memory when it failed to induct Pat Burns before his death. It was only the latest example of a completely cloaked society that many believe has rewarded people who were friends with the right committee members and kept women out of the Hall until last year.

That is shameful in the extreme - and nothing less than full transparency from the HHOF can even begin to make up for the wrongs that have been done by it in the past.

Follow Adam's hockey tweets at twitter.com/TheHockeyNews, and his non-hockey observations at twitter.com/ProteauType.

Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Thursdays and his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays.

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