The Hurricanes didn’t know how much Alex Nedeljkovic and Jake Bean would contribute this past season, but both would up playing a role in Carolina winning the Central Division.
It still wasn’t enough for either to be part of the team’s long-term plans.
A day after Nedeljkovic was traded to Detroit, Bean was dealt to Columbus for the 44th overall pick in this weekend’s NHL Draft.
The move gives Carolina 10 picks in the draft, including five in the first three rounds: 27th in the first round; 44th and 59th in the second round; and 91st and 94th in the third round.
A few days ago, it was possible the Hurricanes would lose Bean for nothing as he was left exposed in the expansion draft. The Kraken instead selected forward Morgan Geekie — another former Carolina draft pick who, like Nedeljkovic and Bean, won a Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers in 2019 — and the Hurricanes decided to take offers on Bean.
The pick from Columbus was originally Chicago’s second-round pick and had been acquired earlier in the day by the Blue Jackets in the blockbuster trade that sent Seth Jones to the Blackhawks.
Bean, the 13th overall pick in 2016 draft, was the AHL’s top defenseman in 2020 and played 42 games for Carolina this season, scoring one goal with 11 assists. He also had one point, a goal, in 11 playoff games.
But the Hurricanes seemed reluctant to give the 23-year-old more responsibility, and Bean struggled defensively — especially in the second round of the playoffs against Tampa Bay.
The trade leaves Carolina with four defensemen — Jake Gardiner, Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei and Jaccob Slavin — who played with the team last season. Dougie Hamilton and Jani Hakanpaa will be unrestricted free agents on July 28.