A couple of weeks ago, Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon made his second superstar for nothing trade. Akin to the Marc-Andre Fleury Trade in July of 2021, McCrimmon traded both Max Pacioretty and Dylan Coghlan to the Carolina Hurricanes for future considerations in July of 2022.
Everyone is focused on Max Pacioretty, and rightfully so. His cap hit and overall skills as a player make him the focal point of the trade. In an injury-ridden season in 2021-22, he still managed to be nearly a point-per-game player with 37 points in 39 games played. He is a six-time 30-goal scorer, Bill Masterton winner, and an overall great player. But he wasn’t the only player in the deal.
The scouting report on this ‘future considerations’ guy is not out yet, so the only other player left to talk about in this deal is Dylan Coghlan, an up-and-coming defenseman who the Golden Knights, again, gave away for nothing.
It made sense for the Golden Knights to cut ties with Coghlan. Their blue line is set with emerging young defensemen such as Nicolas Hague and Zach Whitecloud. Combine that with veterans like Alec Martinez, Brayden McNabb, and now Ben Hutton, and you have a solid D-core led by two of the best, Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo.
But losing any player for nothing, whether it be Fleury, John Tavares, or Johnny Gaudreau, stings.
An undrafted player, Coghlan marched his way up through the Golden Knights organization, using his two-way play and monstrous slap shot to his advantage. He surprisingly scored a hat-trick in his 12th NHL game against the Minnesota Wild on March 10th, 2021. In 59 games played in 2021-22, Coghlan scored three goals and 10 assists for 13 points and was as -5.
He was outside the Golden Knight’s top-six rotation, and it makes sense for the VGK to move him (but not for nothing). The Hurricanes, however, have other plans for Cogs.
Carolina Calling Coghlan
The Carolina Hurricanes made the (correct) decision to get rid of Tony DeAngelo this offseason and traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers. They replaced him with stalwart NHL veteran defenseman Brent Burns, who is now comically a teammate of former rival Pacioretty. With Brett Pesce, Jaccob Slavin, and Brady Skjei, the Hurricanes have a strong top-4.
The uncertain status for Jake Gardiner leaves Coghlan with a realistic chance of being a top-6 defenseman on a Stanley Cup contending team. Ethan Bear, Jalen Chatfield, and William Lagesson are Coghlan’s other competitors for a roster spot on Rod Brind A’mour’s defense.
The Pacioretty/Coghlan trade raises a lot of questions. But one that is relevant is; why Coghlan? The Hurricanes apparently needed a sweetener to take on the one remaining contract year of a superstar player in Pacioretty. They gave up nothing in return, but also wanted more and chose Coghlan at the end of it all.
“The Coghlan kid is interesting… The one thing I heard about him was when he was in the AHL, whichever team he was on, I think it was Chicago; their whole powerplay was ‘get it to Coghlan’ so he can bomb em’ away. When he went there, it read that the Hurricanes want this guy for a reason kind of play,” said Elliotte Friedman in the latest 32-thoughts podcast.
It appears as if the Hurricanes had Coghlan on their radar for some time now and decided to see if they could sneak him into a deal successfully, which they did.
We’ll see how well Coghlan does with the Hurricanes as a potential top-six D-man at 24 years old. He has one year left on his contract before he becomes an RFA.