The Carolina Hurricanes have made a huge commitment to one of the best up-and-coming defensemen in the league, inking Jaccob Slavin to a seven-year, $37.1MM contract extension. The deal will kick in for the 2018-19 season, and carries an average annual value of $5.3MM. Hurricanes’ GM Ron Francis released a statement on the deal:
Jaccob is one of the cornerstones of our team moving forward, and it was important to secure him with our organization long term. We believe he is one of the top young defensemen in the NHL today, and are thrilled that he and his wife, Kylie, have made their home in Raleigh.
Slavin, 23, has come a long way since being selected in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. He notably wasn’t even included in the NHL’s Central Scouting rankings that season, but has done nothing but succeed at every level. The prototypical NHL defenseman these days, Slavin can do it all. Skating the puck out of the zone, and contributing once in the offensive end of the rink, he registered 34 points and was nearly unbeatable in his own end.
On the last season of his entry-level deal, getting Slavin under contract long-term was obviously a priority of both sides. While the $5.3MM salary will be quite an increase next season, he seems destined to become one of the most underpaid players should his development continue. He won’t turn 24 until near the end of next season, and is already a top-pairing player. Logging over 23 minutes a night last season he played in all situations for the Hurricanes.
Going forward, Carolina will rely on their deep defense group to try and start competing with the top teams in the Metropolitan division. All of them though (save for Justin Faulk) will need new contracts sooner or later, with Noah Hanifin, Brett Pesce, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Klas Dahlbeck all set to become restricted free agents next summer. Carolina obviously won’t need to hand out this kind of extension to all of them, but the group will get expensive quickly and may need to be broken up in the near future.
With several defensive prospects knocking on the door to the NHL, Carolina remains in perfect position to move some of their depth for help up front. Though it is unclear if they’re still involved in discussions for Matt Duchene or other offensive upgrades, they certainly have the pieces to jump back into the fray at any point.
For Slavin, giving away four years of free agency may seem like he’s selling himself short, but getting a deal of this amount after just a season and a half of performance is quite a feat. There is no guarantee his play continues, and even if it does he’ll be hitting free agency still with several years of high level play remaining in his career.
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