RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes’ roster has come into focus in recent weeks, and it became clear there wasn’t room for Eddie Lack and Ryan Murphy. On Wednesday night, general manager Ron Francis parted ways with last year’s backup goalie and the team’s 2011 first-round pick, shipping Lack, Murphy and a seventh-round pick in 2019 to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defensive prospect Keegan Kanzig and a sixth-round pick in 2019. Carolina will also retain half of Lack’s remaining $2.75 million contract.
Lack came to Carolina via trade from Vancouver two years and two days prior to his departure, opening the door for competition to longtime starter Cam Ward. But Lack never found his footing in Carolina, going 20-21-9 with a 2.75 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.
Lack’s time in Raleigh came to a head late last season after coach Bill Peters lashed out when asked about his goaltender rotation, singling out Lack’s statistical rankings and imploring him to “make a (expletive) save.”
Murphy also never carved out a spot with the Hurricanes, with questions about his conditioning and work ethic often rumbling through the organization. The small but speedy defenseman was long considered the No. 2 defensive prospect in the 2011 draft — behind Adam Larsson — until he slid on draft day when Dougie Hamilton was picked ninth overall by Boston and Murphy fell to Carolina at No. 12. But over five seasons with the Hurricanes, Murphy never played more than 48 games, bouncing between Raleigh and the team’s AHL affiliate in Charlotte. He logged 151 NHL games, but managed just 37 points (six goals, 31 assists) after being nearly a point-per-game player with Kitchener in the Ontario Hockey League.
Coming back to Raleigh is Kanzig, a monstrous defenseman at 6-foot-7, 247 pounds who spent the majority of last season with the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder in the Flames system. Kanzig was a third-round pick of the Flames in 2013 and spent four years in the Western Hockey League with the Victoria Royals and the Calgary Hitmen. He was a teammate of Carolina 2016 first-round pick Jake Bean from 2014-16 with the Hitmen. Kanzig is in the final year of his entry-level contract.
The trade puts Carolina even further away from the NHL salary cap floor of $55.4 million, with another $2.16 million coming off the rolls. That leaves the Hurricanes with roughly $6 million to spend to reach the required floor with both the defense and goaltending seemingly in place and 10 forwards penciled in to the NHL lineup. The free agency period opens Saturday at noon, and Francis and the Hurricanes could look to address those spots — and their cap needs — on the open market, or continue to look for a trade partner to acquire another top-six forward.