The Carolina Hurricanes won’t be signing Adam Fox this summer, meaning the team has to consider trading his rights at some point in order to receive some sort of compensation before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in August of 2020. If they can find a team that he’s willing to sign with in time for the 2019-20 season, they may be able to coax some value out of them by leveraging the idea of getting him a year early. That’s a tough idea to sell given that teams could just wait a year and try to convince him themselves without giving up an asset, but the Hurricanes are certainly going to try. Owner Tom Dundon told Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer that the team would try to trade him, and today Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (subscription required) examined the situation further.
Interestingly, LeBrun notes that the league would void a sign-and-trade situation that was meant to burn the first year of an entry-level contract in 2018-19. That was the immediate speculation surrounding the situation, and a potential selling point for the Hurricanes when bringing deals to other teams. The Hurricanes have talked to the New York Rangers about Fox—who grew up a fan of the team—but LeBrun believes that Carolina would be looking for a late first-round pick in exchange for the Harvard defenseman. That’s obviously a big price for the Rangers or any other team to pay just to get their hands on a player’s rights, especially when he will become an unrestricted free agent down the road.
It is important to remember here that Fox will be turning 22 in February of next year, meaning if he goes back to school he will only be required to sign a two-year entry-level contract with whatever team he chooses in free agency in the summer of 2020. Right now he would have to ink a three-year deal, meaning he’s going to get to restricted free agency—and a chance at a bigger payday—in the summer of 2022 either way (unless of course Carolina can somehow convince him in the next few days).