The Carolina Hurricanes traded defenseman Calvin de Haan and forward prospect Aleksi Saarela to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Gustav Forsling and goaltender Anton Forsberg, the teams announced on Monday night.
— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) June 24, 2019
The Hurricanes added a backup goaltender to make up for the expected loss of Curtis McElhinney in unrestricted free agency. Forsberg, 26, has a record of 11-24-4 with a save percentage of .901 and a goals-against average of 3.21 in 45 career NHL games with the Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets. He spent the entire 2018-19 season with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs, where he recorded a save percentage of .919 and a goals-against average of 2.64 in 32 games.
Hurricanes starting goaltender Petr Mrazek can also become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and GM Don Waddell did not like the chances of the team keeping either one of their goaltenders from last season as of last week.
Forsling, 23, posted three goals, nine points, and a -9 rating in 43 games this season. In 122 career NHL games (all with the Blackhawks), he has recorded eight goals, 27 points, and a -8 rating.
The Blackhawks, who acquired Olli Maatta in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on June 16, continue to upgrade their blueline with the addition of de Haan after the team allowed an average of 3.55 goals-per-game, the second-highest in the NHL, and their penalty kill had an efficiency of 72.7%, the worst in the league this past season.
de Hann, 28, posted a goal, 14 points, and a +1 rating in 74 games during the regular season, his first with Carolina. He signed a four-year contract with a cap hit of $2.55 million last offseason after he spent each of his first six NHL seasons with the New York Islanders. In 378 games with the Hurricanes and Islanders, de Haan has posted 13 goals, 95 points, and a +27 rating. de Haan missed the first three games of Carolina’s run to the 2019 Eastern Conference Final with an upper-body injury but finished the postseason with a goal and a +3 rating in 12 games. He averaged 18:31 worth of ice-time per game during the regular season, including 1:59 while shorthanded.
de Hann is expected to miss 4-6 months after undergoing shoulder surgery following the end of Carolina’s season.
Saarela, 22, posted 30 goals, 54 points, and a +18 rating in 69 regular-season games with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers this past season after he recorded 25 goals, 43 points, and a +8 rating in 69 regular-season games in 2017-18. During the Checkers’ run to the Calder Cup, Saarela recorded seven goals, 15 points, and a +10 rating in 17 Calder Cup Playoff games.
The Hurricanes free up $4,550,000 in cap space with the trade and are now $3,398,334 below the cap floor. In addition to their two goaltenders, center Sebastian Aho, who led the team with 30 goals and 83 points in 82 games this past season, can become a restricted free agent. Captain Justin Williams (UFA), forwards Brock McGinn (RFA) and Michael Ferland (UFA), and Forsling (RFA) are up for new contracts along with Mrazek and McElhinney this offseason for the Hurricanes.
By Harrison Brown