The Carolina Hurricanes are once again having a strong season. Carolina is a contender in the Eastern Conference, sitting in second place in the Metropolitan Division. They are headed for another run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And with the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline approaching, the time to address their needs is now.

The thing with Carolina is that their main need has somewhat fixed itself. Carolina had a goaltending issue for most of the season. Hurricanes starter Frederik Andersen hasn't played for most of the year. In his place, Pyotr Kochetkov and Antti Raanta struggled a bit.

However, Kochetkov has figured things out. In fact, he was recently named Rookie of the Month for February. Furthermore, waiver claim Spencer Martin has provided some fine play, though he's only appeared in five games. Now that this need is fixed, what do the Hurricanes do?

Carolina has a rather strong roster already. If they wanted, they could add around the edges or simply stand pat on March 8th. That said, one could also say that Carolina has a need a bit further up their lineup. And it's a need they certainly could address at the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline.

Hurricanes trade targets should provide offense

Carolina Hurricanes center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (82) and center Jordan Staal (11) looks on before the game during the warmups against the New Jersey Devils at PNC Arena.
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Any Hurricanes trade should focus on offense. More specifically, it should focus on adding a top-six scoring option. Carolina's leading scorer is Sebastian Aho, who has 64 points in 58 games. Behind him, their second-leading scorer is Seth Jarvis with 48 points.

Aho is the team's top-line center, giving that line a much-needed offensive punch. However, the wide gap between him and Jarvis is a bit concerning. Furthermore, Aho is the only center on the team with more than 30 points. Jack Drury has 26, followed by Jordan Staal and Jesperi Kotkaniemi who have 22 and 21 points respectively.

Drury is the team's second-line center, creating a huge area of need in terms of offense. Carolina needs to have another top-six option that can help lead the offensive attack. The Hurricanes simply don't match some of their other Eastern Conference peers in this department.

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Take the Florida Panthers, for example. All four of their top scorers — Sam Reinhart, Matthew Tkachuk, Carter Verhaeghe, and Aleksandar Barkov — play in their top six. Their secondary scoring comes from their bottom six and, interestingly enough, their blueline.

It's already going to be tough for Carolina to match up with teams like the Panthers. It'll be even more difficult if the Hurricanes can't roll their top two lines and match the offensive production. The New York Rangers are in a similar situation where their top scorers also play in their top six.

Carolina would likely need to win a playoff series before matching up with either New York or Florida, to be fair. But in a way, that makes this need more pressing. As teams get closer to the Stanley Cup Final, they get more intense. They become more aggressive and more driven to score. If Carolina can't match that, they will be in trouble.

The Hurricanes are a strong defensive team. And if their goaltending holds up, that'll help matters as well. That said, Carolina has had issues scoring consistently in the past. They cannot allow those issues to haunt them once again in this year's playoffs. Carolina needs to address the issue at the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline. If they don't, the Hurricanes may head home earlier than they want to.