Hurricanes trade former first-rounder Gauthier to Rangers for D Keane

Joey Keane is fourth in scoring among AHL rookie defensemen

The Hurricanes acquired defenseman Joey Keane from the Rangers in exchange for former first round pick Julien Gauthier. (Mary Altaffer / AP Photo)

RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes  parted ways with a former first round pick Tuesday, trading winger Julien Gauthier to the New York Rangers in exchange for defensive prospect Joey Keane.

Keane, a 20-year-old right-handed defenseman who was selected in the third round of the 2018 draft by New York, has eight goals and 22 assists in 49 games in his first professional season with the Hartford Wolfpack. His 30 points rank tied for 12th in the AHL and fourth among rookie defensemen through Monday’s games. Charlotte Checkers defenseman Jake Bean leads all AHL defensemen with 39 points, while rookie Chase Priskie is tied for 10th with 31 points.

Gauthier ranks fourth in the AHL in goals with 26 through 44 games, and he has 11 assists and 37 total points. Selected 21st overall in the 2016 draft, the 6-foot-4, 227-pound Gauthier powered his way to 27 goals in the AHL last season, helping the Checkers win the Calder Cup.

The Point-aux-Trembles, Quebec, native was a standout at Hurricanes training camp and played five games with Carolina this season. Gauthier had one assist and six penalty minutes while playing just 7:24 per game. While Gauthier produced at the AHL level, the team had concerns that he could translate that production to the NHL level and not be a defensive liability.

In Keane, the Hurricanes added another puck-moving defenseman and a former teammate of star winger Andrei Svechnikov — Keane and Svechnikov played for the OHL’s Barrie Colts during the 2017-18 season, along with Carolina’s 2019 first round pick, Ryan Suzuki.