Report: Hurricanes could be preparing to ditch Michael Bunting




One player who did not return to the Toronto Maple Leafs in what is Brad Treliving's first year on the job was 2022 Calder Trophy runner up Michael Bunting, who skipped town to sign a three-year contract with the contending Carolina Hurricanes. 

Bunting scored 23 goals with 26 assists last season with the Leafs, which was the final year of the two-year, $1.9 million deal he signed under ex-general manager Kyle Dubas. Bunting instead joined a Hurricanes team that has been a force in the Eastern Conference and came within four wins of advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for what would have been the first time since 2006. 

It was also rather poetic that Bunting would score a goal in his return to Toronto over the weekend, and certainly seemed to enjoy making the fans in attendance know it: 

But could Bunting already be on the trade block in Carolina? According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, he could be the player that Carolina deals in order to clear cap space for a potential acquisition of a goaltender. 

"There is word around the league that when Carolina was looking to clear some cap room and maybe make a move for a goaltender, Bunting's name came up," Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported during the Saturday Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada. "He was a bit lower down the lineup at the time. He's still seventh or eighth [on the Hurricanes] in ice time. There was some talk about if he could be the person moved in order to create the room."

He's in the first year of his three year contract that carries an AAV of $4.5 million. So far in 36 games played, Bunting has scored eight goals to go with 17 assists and a -9 rating. 

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Source: Sportsnet