RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes made their third trade in less than a week, acquiring forward Erik Haula from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for prospect Nicolas Roy and a conditional 2021 fifth-round pick. The deal was first reported by The Athletic, and North State Journal confirmed the trade.
Haula, 28, played just 15 games last season due to a knee injury but was a big part of Vegas’ run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2018, registering career highs in goals (29), assists (26) and points (55) in the Golden Knights’ inaugural season. Vegas is up against the NHL salary cap, and Haula will make $2.75 million in 2019-20 before he is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
He is also the latest Finnish player to join the Hurricanes, joining forwards Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Saku Maenalanen and several prospects. Haula, however, has been in the U.S. since 2008, playing in the USHL and the University of Minnesota before being drafted in the seventh round by Minnesota in 2009.
Haula suffered his season-ending knee injury on a seemingly innocent hit by Maple Leafs forward Patrick Marleau on Nov. 6. Coincidentally, Marleau was traded to Carolina on Saturday at the draft with a first-round pick to Carolina. The two will likely never be teammates, as Marleau is expected to be bought out by the Hurricanes before July 1.
Haula is a versatile forward who can play center or wing and be used in all situations, and his addition fills one of two forward vacancies on Carolina’s roster. The team is awaiting a decision from captain Justin Williams on if he’ll play in 2019-20 or retire, while unrestricted free agent Micheal Ferland is unlikely to return.
The Golden Knights receive Roy, a fourth-round pick by Carolina in 2015 who had 17 goals and 36 points in 69 games for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers last season. He then added six goals and nine assists in 19 playoff games to help the Checkers win the Calder Cup. The 6-foot-4 center has played seven NHL games, including six last season.
Haula has 73 goals and 78 assists in 357 career games and 22 points in 44 postseason games with Minnesota and Vegas. The Golden Knights selected Haula from the Wild in the 2017 expansion draft.
The trade is the third this week for the Hurricanes, who acquired Marleau and Toronto’s 2020 first- and seventh-round picks in exchange for Carolina’s sixth-round choice next year. The Hurricanes then freed up cap room by trading Calvin de Haan and Aleksi Saarela to Chicago for restricted free agents Gustav Forsling and Anton Forsberg on Monday.
Interestingly, the Wild drafted Haula in 2009 after getting the 16th, 77th and 181st (where Haula was picked) selections from the Islanders for the 12th overall pick. New York used that pick to select de Haan.
Carolina still has needs as the free agency period looms. The team is looking for a No. 1 goalie and will explore available forwards given the uncertainty surrounding Williams’ future.