Especially for July past the beginning of free agency, today is a busy one at Canes and Coffee.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe addresses a couple Canes catch up notes related to a matter at hand with Justin Faulk and also another potentially big Hurricanes event this summer that so far has been in the background.
Justin Faulk for Brandon Saad
Elliotte Friedman from TSN reported that the Blackhawks were interested in Justin Faulk but that the Blackhawks balked at the asking price of Brandon Saad.
My guess is that where things sit right now is that the Blackhawks would be happy to offer Artem Anisimov plus something else for Justin Faulk, and that the Hurricanes would be willing to offer Justin Faulk plus possibly something else for Brandon Saad.
But as a depth center with a modest scoring ceiling, I do not think the Hurricanes have much use for Anisimov. If the Hurricanes are going to add a center this summer, the player must be a higher-end offensive player. If that is not possible, then the path forward is probably patience while Martin Necas develops.
From a Chicago side, the Blackhawks need to somehow improve on defense without giving up too much depth scoring to do so. Yes, the Blackhawks could use Faulk. But on a team that is suddenly light on independent depth scoring losing Saad even after a down 217-18 season would be costly.
Therein lies what I suspect is the impasse.
From a Hurricanes viewpoint, could taking Marian Hossa’s $5.3 million cap hit but only $1 million actual salary be enough to make the deal happen. If so, I would strongly consider it. There is $3 million of real money over three years. The cap hit will not matter in 2017-18 and even looking forward two more years, it should be something that the team can absorb without creating budget problems.
Brandon Saad is an interesting fit for the Hurricanes. As a young player with decent size and two-way acumen who can skate, Saad could actually be a decent replacement for much of what Lindholm brought but potentially with more scoring upside. He could make a good third on a scoring line with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, or he could add a bit more offensive to a Jordan Staal line with checking responsibilities as priority one.
Despite what seems to be an initial impasse, I think the Blackhawks are worth watching.
Brett Pesce versus Justin Faulk
With Justin Faulk rumored to be on the trade market but not finding a suitor just yet, I see conversation here and there at Canes and Coffee at elsewhere that the team should consider instead trading Brett Pesce who might have more value because of his age, modest salary and contract term. I think this misses the point of that the team is trying to do right now which is solidify the defense in hopes that it will give the team a true strength and identity which is lacked in 2017-18. It is not as simple as just plugging any right shot defenseman into the top 4. If it was that simple, Faulk would have worked during the past two years, and we likely would not even be having these conversations. What, if any, offensive upside Brett Pesce has entering his fourth season in the NHL is uncertain, but he has established himself as a capable and steady defensive defenseman. Meanwhile Faulk is trending in the other direction. It really only takes one weak link within the top two pairings on defense to create problems, and as of the end of the 2017-18 season, Justin Faulk is much riskier in that regard. As such, I do not view the option of moving Pesce instead of Faulk to be an interchangeable/either-or type situation.
Sebastian Aho’s next contract
With the big name trade rumors swirling and a couple free agent signings last week, little has been said about a possible contract extension for Sebastian Aho. Although it is possible to just wait until his contract is up at the end of the 2018-19 season, I fully expect the Hurricanes to sign Aho to a long-term contract this summer.
If that occurs, it will be interesting to see what the price is. Right now, Aho seems to be trending toward becoming a good young player in the forward tier just below the top ones. The salary for a player of that caliber is probably in a $7 to $8 million range right now but seems to be trending upward. By doing the deal early and possibly before Aho has a break out season, might it be possible to do this deal long-term for a modest $6.5 million? Or even now, will Aho’s agent be able to push the yearly salary up to more like $8 million? Regardless, the situation is one worth watching especially if the potential trades occur and the team’s management team can start looking forward to what is next?
What say you Canes fans?
1) Do you think where there is smoke there is a potential Faulk trade to the Blackhawks? If so, ultimately what do you think that deal is?
2) Do you think the Hurricanes will re-sign Sebastian Aho this summer? If so, what do you expect/hope for for terms?