The Carolina Hurricanes, known for their depth and talent on defense, continue to surprisingly add top blue line names to the roster this off-season. After previously trading for right-handed scoring threat Dougie Hamilton, the team has reportedly agreed to a deal with arguably the top defender on the free agent market, left-landed shutdown defenseman Calvin de Haan. The Raleigh News & Observer’s Luck DeCock first reported that the team has signed de Haan to a four-year, $18.2MM contract – a $4.55MM AAV. The team confirmed the deal soon after.
De Haan, 27, was No. 9 on PHR’s Top 50 Free Agents List. Although he missed the majority of last season due to injury, de Haan has shown a high-end defensive ability in his pro career. The 12th overall pick in 2009 by the New York Islanders, de Haan has proven to be one of the best shot blockers in the NHL and an extremely reliable presence on the back end. Yet has has also improved his offensive production with each year, including a career-best scoring rate prior to his injury last season. While many may have balked at a $4.55MM value for de Haan in a vacuum, he is clearly superior to nearly every other defenseman in this free agent market.
Carolina is a surprise landing spot for the defensive standout though. De Haan’s arrival in Raleigh will only add to a formidable corps of rearguards that includes Hamilton, Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, Trevor van Riemsdyk (an RFA), young pros Haydn Fleury and Roland McKeown, and elite prospects Jake Bean, Luke Martin, and Adam Fox. De Haan’s signing very well could be a sign of more changes coming in Carolina under new ownership and new GM Don Waddell.