Today’s Daily Cup of Joe has a small but interesting batch of random Canes musings.
4D chess on the Justin Faulk trade rumors
After a wild day when rumors that Justin Faulk could be traded to Anaheim broke on Monday, it has been pretty quiet on that front since. My original article on that topic is HERE.
Justin Faulk deserves a huge amount of credit for putting in a couple solid practices with the news swirling around and being a good sport answering questions about it at his stall afterward.
I have no inside information on the current status of that situation, but here is an interesting possibility that is outside the realm of what is currently being considered. It has been reported that the Hurricanes and Justin Faulk discussed a next contract back in June, and at least as reported have not discussed it since. The assumption is that Faulk was asking for full market price and for long-term which would suggest something in the $7-8 million range within which Jacob Trouba just signed. The thought is that this range was more than the Hurricanes cared to pay which at least in part is what started the team down the trade path that it seems to currently be on. The addition of Jake Gardiner put the Hurricanes back at five top 4 defensemen which would make it feasible to trade Faulk now without undermanning the blue line. In addition, with the trade of Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin last summer after early season contract talks, there is precedent for pretty quickly dealing players whose contract demands do not line up with the team’s budget.
So long story short, the current path that seems to see Justin Faulk departing via trade is legitimately the most likely outcome.
But let’s say for a second that the team does want to or would at least consider keeping Justin Faulk long-term, but only at a certain price that is well below his ask from June.
Then let’s say that Faulk does indeed want to stay with the team he has spent his entire career with especially that after seven years of playoff misses, things finally turned positive last year.
And last let’s say that the team knows that Faulk really wants to stay.
Could brokering a deal with Anaheim and letting Faulk walk all the way up to leaving after seven years in Raleigh and maybe not wanting to be just an attempt to jolt him into the realization that negotiating for top dollar eventually leads to leaving the Hurricanes organization? In addition, if the Hurricanes have an inkling that other teams might also be hesitant to pay Faulk to dollar for his next deal, maybe letting his agent get on the phone with another team could walk back expectations somewhat.
So let’s say that the team did want to keep Faulk or was at least considering it, but that it was only willing to do so at a discounted price of say $5.5 million. The recent events that conveniently immediately followed the team gaining negotiating leverage with Garniner now added would arguably be an ingenious way to walk back Faulk’s demands and getting a discounted deal done.
Again, the odds still lean toward a Faulk departure sometime in the next year, but if there was somehow a path to the Canes re-signing him at 5 years for $5.5 million per year, this is it.
Considering Julius Honka
With Faulk still here for now, Gardiner added and the team being overstocked with you young depth defensemen who could be waiver wire risks, the Hurricanes were oddly mentioned in another situation. With the Finnish national team mostly collected and the Hurricanes odd position among the NHL’s greatest wheelers and dealers, the Canes were one of the rumored destinations.
I think some might make more of this than is the case and incorrectly consider it linked to the Faulk situation.
As I said on Twitter:
Julius Honka thing only makes sense if it is sideways swap for another similar age depth defenseman (McKeown or Forsling).
If #Canes scouts like Honka despite 'meh' development track, it's a buy low opportunity with potential upside.
— Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) September 14, 2019
I view Honka as a prospect who has thus far been a disappointment but still has higher-end upside due to his draft pedigree. If acquired, he would hop right into the pool of young defensemen at the fringe of the NHL and AHL who are competing for the bottom couple roster spots. As such, the Hurricanes really do not have room for another such player unless the Canes scouting staff really likes him and the trade swaps one of the Canes similar age defenseman. Regardless, even if acquired I view him as another prospect who might or might not win NHL ice time.
Fredrik Claesson on PTO
Also from the hotbed of Carolina Hurricanes blue line maneuvering, the team signed defenseman Fredrik Claesson to tryout contract. Claesson has 150 games of NHL experience and could be another option for #8 or #9 depth from the AHL level. I am record a few weeks back as saying that the team could trade one or more of Roland McKeown, Gustav Forsling or Haydn Fleury rather than risking losing them on the waiver wire. If that happens, the team could be short at the AHL level and in terms of deep depth. As a 26-year who is past the prospect stage, Claesson could back fill a position and be less likely to be claimed off of waivers on the way to the AHL.
Trevor van Riemsdyk
Finally, Trevor van Riemsdyk skated outside of the practice groups on the first day of training camp which suggests that he is tracking toward a return but not yet at 100 percent.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Do you think there is even a tiny chance that the team is trying to and could successfully playing the Faulk situation into re-signing him at a favorable price?
2) What are your thoughts on adding another Finn and another young defenseman in Honka?
3) Who has other Canes blue line thoughts at this early juncture of preseason?