April 22nd, 2018

There is undeniable logic behind Hurricanes’ deals

By Yoos, Cam on January 10, 2018.

A ‘Good Sport’ column by Dylan Purcell

I hate Peter Anholt. With the fire of a thousand suns, I hate the Hurricanes general manager.

What’s he done? Why am I joining the legion of online Lethbridge Hurricanes’ fans who hate the team’s blockbuster trade with the Swift Current Broncos?

I hope generations of Anholts lose their hair prematurely and can’t find pants that fit.

Who makes a trade on a Tuesday? A soulless, uncaring waste of skin that’s who. I mean, come on. I just wrote a column about Stuart Skinner and Giorgio Estephan!

The whining of an entitled columnist notwithstanding, the Hurricanes took a hit on Tuesday.

The team isn’t appreciably better after the deal but that wasn’t the point. Anholt kept the team playoff-relevant by acquiring Logan Flodell, an excellent goaltender whose ceiling isn’t as high as Skinner’s, but whose floor is not as low, either.

He also added a replacement for the previously-dealt Brennan Riddle with the addition of Matt Stanley, who is a decaffeinated Riddle at worst. The key players looking forward are Logan Barlage and Owen Blocker. Those two will be back next season and the seasons after that. Barlage might turn out to be the best player in the trade, when all careers are in the books. Looking at next year’s Lethbridge Hurricanes, this trade might be the only thing that gets them into the playoffs.

That’s where Anholt deserves credit. Next year’s Hurricanes were going to be woeful, a return to the basement they occupied for much of this decade. Skinner was as good as gone, and Estephan and Nagel were definitely gone.

I didn’t want this trade. I wanted to see Giorgio and Stewie make one more run at the playoffs. I wanted to cheer them in their final games with the team that drafted them. Fans got to do that for Tyler Wong, why not his friends? Like Wong, Estephan and Skinner saw the Canes at their worst and their best. They were good soldiers.

Take the emotion and the fandom out of this deal and you’ll see that adding draft picks and getting younger while staying competitive is a master stroke by Anholt. It was good trade but a difficult one.

I agree with the outraged fans on Twitter and Facebook, I do. This hurts. Skinner, at his best, could win a series on his own and has. I can’t say that about Flodell, as good as his numbers are. I can see how Estephan and newly-acquired Brad Morrison would light up the league. I can’t say that about Jordy Bellerive and Logan Barlage.

I can say that before Peter Anholt rebuilt the Hurricanes’ organization, they were garbage. They couldn’t even fire an equipment manager without embarrassing themselves. Players would quit rather than stay.

Last season, the Canes were a bumbling, disassociated mess. Anholt ripped the heart out of the roster and went three rounds deep in the playoffs.

No one is more upset than me about this trade. An eloquent defence of Skinner and Estephan still had wet ink on the page when Anholt consigned it to the bottom of the birdcage.

But I can put my feelings aside and acknowledge this trade, despite its abysmal timing, was a good move.

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