In case you missed it earlier this offseason, the Chicago Blackhawks and Carolina Hurricanes hooked up on a trade with the Blackhawks acquired defenseman Calvin De Haan and prospect Aleksi Saarela in exchange for Gustav Forsling and goalie Anton Forsberg.
The key to the deal for astute Blackhawks fans is the aquistiion of 22 year old Saarela, who has put up consistent numbers at the AHL level, but has yet to earn himself an NHL shot. The Finnish forward put up 30 goals and 54 points in 69 games with the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate Charlotte Checkers in 2018-19. Good numbers, right? Think he’s had earned himself an NHL call up? Think again.
Saarela was never given a shot with the Hurricanes and now he’s speaking out about his time with the organization. Check out some of these comments from Saarela in his native Finnish for Ilta Sanomat:
“It was frustrating, though, when other organizations came up with all-night sleepers who haven’t scored 20 points in a season.”
Saarela would go on to say that “Carolina is not a leader” and “the palette is quite a mess”. The article goes on the state that, “the real shit storm just starts”.
Obviously this is a translated article, so it’s difficult to know just how true Saarela’s intent these words are, but suffice it to say that it’s not a good look for the Hurricanes franchise.