The St. Louis Blues have added another exciting right-handed defenseman to their group, acquiring Justin Faulk from the Carolina Hurricanes. The Blues will send Joel Edmundson, Dominik Bokk and a 2021 seventh-round pick to the Hurricanes in exchange for Faulk and a 2020 fifth-round selection. Faulk has also immediately agreed to a seven-year extension worth a total of $45.5MM ($6.5MM AAV), taking him off the board as a potential unrestricted free agent next summer. The full contract details were tweeted by Andy Strickland of Fox Sports Midwest:
- 2020-21: $9.0MM salary + full NTC
- 2021-22: $9.0MM salary + full NTC
- 2022-23: $5.85MM salary + full NTC
- 2023-24: $7.9MM salary + full NTC
- 2024-25: $4.75MM salary + full NTC
- 2025-26: $4.5MM salary + partial NTC
- 2026-27: $4.5MM salary + partial NTC
The Hurricanes will also be retaining 14% of Faulk’s cap hit this season according to Strickland, which would equal just over $676K. GM Doug Armstrong explained the deal:
We are excited to add Justin to our core group for the next eight years. He’s a Top-4 defenseman who averages over 23 minutes a game and we are confident he will be a strong addition to our club.
Faulk, 27, had been involved in trade talks for years in Carolina, always seen as the extra defenseman that may be expendable given they already had Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce on the right side. When Jake Gardiner was signed recently as another powerplay option, it led to even more speculation about Faulk’s availability and even a nixed trade with the Anaheim Ducks. He’ll now find himself on the reigning Stanley Cup champion Blues, in a similar depth chart situation but with a lot more job security.
The Blues can now ice Alex Pietrangelo, Colton Parayko and Faulk as their three right-handed defensemen, giving each pairing a strong puck-moving option that can contribute offensively. The team’s powerplay will also get a significant boost, as Faulk has generated a good amount of offense over the years with the man-advantage. In fact, 40 of his 85 career goals have come a man up. He also comes at just a $4.83MM cap hit this season (before salary retention), only $1.7MM more than Edmundson was set to make.
It’s the $6.5MM AAV extension that will turn heads, as the Blues already had Pietrangelo heading into the final year of his current deal. Signing Faulk long-term means that there is already $12MM locked up on the right side before any extension for their captain, a substantial amount given Brayden Schenn also needs a new deal up front. Armstrong has been known to be ruthless with his veteran expiring players before, trading the likes of Kevin Shattenkirk and Paul Stastny in the middle of playoff runs, though Pietrangelo obviously represents a better and more important player than either of them.
Carolina meanwhile will happily snap up the return, adding a quality defenseman in Edmundson and a 2018 first-round pick in Bokk. The former could very well be flipped at some point given the Hurricanes’ blueline depth, but right now comes in as a potential third-pairing option behind Jaccob Slavin and Gardiner. Edmundson is also scheduled for unrestricted free agency in 2020, making him a nice looking trade chip if the Hurricanes believe they can fill that spot with the likes of Gustav Forsling, Haydn Fleury and Jake Bean.
Bokk meanwhile is a very interesting prospect in his own right. Selected 25th overall in 2018, he spent last season in the SHL and recorded 23 points in 47 games with the Vaxjo Lakers. He’s spending this year overseas again (though with Rogle this time), but is already signed to his entry-level deal and should compete for a spot on the Hurricanes roster before long. The 6’2″ winger is a force when he gets some speed down the wing, and showed dominant offensive ability in both the German and Swedish junior leagues.
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