The Carolina Hurricanes entered the NHL trade deadline bruised and battered and looking for a lifeline.
They finished the day with a message to the rest of the league that they are ready to be Stanley Cup contenders after pulling off some of the most important trades of the frenzied period.
Carolina began the day by prying center Vincent Trocheck from the Florida Panthers for forwards Erik Haula and Lucas Wallstrom plus prospects Chase Priskie and Eetu Luostarinen. Trocheck (10 goals, 36 points) has had a down season but is only two years removed from a 31-goal, 75-point campaign. At 26 and signed through 2022, Trocheck gives the Hurricanes a formidable center trio along with Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal.
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General manager Don Waddell then acquired defenseman Sami Vatanen, an unrestricted free agent this offseason, from the New Jersey Devils for prospects Janne Kuokkanen and Fredrik Claesson and a conditional fourth-round pick. He finished the day by trading for defenseman…