(Photo Credit: Today’s Slapshot/Fred Kfoury III)

By Mike Cratty                                                                  Twitter: @Mike_Cratty

Ryan Spooner remains as the Boston Bruins name that has been thrown around the most in trade speculation. One team in particular, out of many could be interested in trading for him. That team is the Carolina Hurricanes.

In an article posted by The Hockey News’, Lyle Richardson, yesterday, it is mentioned that Carolina Hurricanes general manager, Ron Francis, is looking at top-2 centers as trade options across the NHL. Francis told NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti that he is looking at top-2 centers and hasn’t ruled out a trade for one. It is also mentioned that if Francis can’t find the right guy, he is content with the lineup that he has.

A top-2 center could mean someone of Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene’s caliber. That doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility of Ryan Spooner being an option. I am not saying that I think Ryan Spooner is a top-2 center, but there is a chance that Ron Francis could see him as one, or close to being one.

The Hurricanes certainly have trade assets on defense that the Colorado Avalanche desperately need, so a trade between the two teams could work. Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic will have to settle on a more reasonable asking price for Duchene than has been reported in the past.

I have mentioned in the past how I think that the quote below makes me think that Don Sweeney wants to hold on to Ryan Spooner in hopes that he takes the next step. At this point in the summer, I think Sweeney will hold on to Spooner and dangle him as trade bait at the deadline if he feels as though it’s time to move on. This will mainly depend on how Spooner performs in the 2017-2018 season.

Maybe Ron Francis reaches the trade deadline and feels like he still needs a top-2 center. Spooner could be a fit as that top-2 center or at least give Carolina a decent third-line center.

In my mind, Spooner is worth a good prospect, or either a second-round pick or third round pick. It really depends on the general manager and the need for the player when it all comes down to it. The thought in my mind stands, as shown in the past that Ryan Spooner will end up on the New Jersey Devils, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks at some point. The Carolina Hurricanes now join that mix. The article mentions Spooner’s free-agent rights and a 2018 third-round pick. A third-round pick could be the return, but not just his rights anymore, just wanted to clear that up. Also, keep in mind that the article was written around draft time.

Two somewhat realistic prospects that I could see coming to Boston from Carolina in a trade for Ryan Spooner are right-handed defenseman Roland McKeown or right-handed center Nicolas Roy. Higher end prospects would need to be in play for a guy like Matt Duchene, likely an established NHL defenseman too. Other pieces such as draft picks could very well be involved in a deal for McKeown or Roy.

McKeown, 21, is a solid prospect, but arguably not as high-end as Carolina prospects like Jake Bean, Julien Gauthier, and Martin Necas. If McKeown were to come to Boston, he could slot very nicely behind Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy someday on the right side.

McKeown is a heads-up defenseman with great hockey sense and two-way ability. He carries a solid frame with him at 6-foot-1, 194 pounds, according to eliteprospects.com. After spending four years with the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL, two as captain, McKeown played his first AHL season with the Charlotte Checkers, Carolina’s AHL affiliate.

The Canadian defenseman was acquired by the Carolina Hurricanes on February 25, 2015, along with a conditional first-round pick from the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Andrej Sekera. McKeown was drafted 50th overall by the Kings in 2014.

Nicolas Roy is an excellent prospect and may be too much for Francis’ liking to give up but could be a player of great interest to Don Sweeney. Roy’s a player that Don Sweeney may be willing to add something else on to a Ryan Spooner deal to acquire. The Bruins are in need of talented, young, right-handed forwards outside of David Pastrnak and Zachary Senyshyn.

Roy was drafted 96th overall in the 2015 draft by the Hurricanes.

Roy, 20, is a hefty, right-shot, Canadian forward that could be just what the Bruins need when he becomes NHL ready. He carries a sturdy and daunting frame at 6-foot-4, 207 pounds, according to eliteprospects.com. The scoring touch is most certainly there as well. As captain of the QMJHL’s Chicoutimi Sagueneens this past season, Roy tallied 36 goals and 44 assists, good for 80 points.

In the end, my stance stands firm, although I would love to snag a solid prospect, that if Ryan Spooner is traded, it will be for a draft pick. Originally a third-round pick, but his cheap $2.825 million cap hit could make him a little more appealing than a third-round pick. I could very well see Ron Francis working to get Ryan Spooner to Carolina. Carolina definitely makes sense as a destination for the speedy Bruins forward. The story of Ryan Spooner’s status as a Bruin is one to monitor going forward.