After years of rumors about the Carolina Hurricanes shopping defenseman Justin Faulk, the team finally traded him away. His destination is a surprise, though, as he’ll be a big part of the future for the defending champion St. Louis Blues.
In a truly resounding move, the Blues traded for Faulk and handed the defenseman a hefty seven-year, $45.5 million extension. Faulk was entering a contract year, so that $6.5M AAV will kick in starting in 2020-21.
[MORE: How the Blues might be able to keep Alex Pietrangelo even after Faulk signing.]
Here are the parameters of the trade itself …
Blues receive: Faulk, 2020 fifth-round pick.
Hurricanes get: Defenseman Joel Edmundson, forward prospect Dominik Bokk, and a 2020 seventh-round pick.
Blues go bold, open up some questions
Once the shock from this trade fades, it’s inevitable to wonder what this all means for Alex Pietrangelo‘s future. The Blues were almost on the nose about it, as Pietrangelo’s contract is about to expire with a $6.5M AAV, which matches what Faulk’s extension will carry. There have been some surprises when it comes to free agent signings lately – including new Hurricanes defenseman Jake Gardiner – but the smart money is on Pietrangelo costing a lot more than $6.5M starting in 2020-21.
Does this mean that those discussions weren’t going well? Could it even forecast a preemptive move with Pietrangelo?
It’s oddly fitting that Faulk goes from one logjam of right-handed defensemen in Carolina to another potential logjam with the Blues. Not only is Pietrangelo a fellow right-handed defenseman (and a superior one to Faulk in that), but you can say the same for Colton Parayko.
Faulk has some use, especially if the Blues can use him in a protected role, but I’m personally not so sure he’s worth $6.5M per year.
Faulk is 27.
Hurricanes save money, get a prospect
Carolina will no longer enter the season with the Faulk question lingering.
They save some money, and also get an intriguing prospect in Dominik Bokk, who the Blues traded up to select 25th overall in 2018. During the summer, The Athletic’s Corey Pronman rated Bokk as the Blues’ second best prospect (sub required).
Edmundson, 26, enters the season on an expiring contract with a $3M cap hit. With Faulk gone, it will be intriguing to see if top power-play duties fall to Dougie Hamilton, Jake Gardiner, or perhaps a dark horse option. On paper, Edmundson seems like a downgrade from Faulk, but Carolina does save some money and cuts down on some uncertainty.
Frankly, I don’t love the long-term investment from the Blues’ perspective, and it felt like Carolina might get a little bit more for Faulk.
That doesn’t mean that this trade can’t benefit both sides. How do you feel about the move for both teams?
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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.