On Monday, the Nashville Predators became the first team to retain a significant free agent, when they signed young defenseman Roman Josi to a new seven-year deal worth $28 million. For them, it’s a nice deal, somewhat cap friendly, and locks up a young defenseman for quite some time, ensuring that they won’t lose another cornerstone any time soon.
But given that he’s not the only young restricted free agent defenseman, the bigger story here is what his new deal will mean for others that are set to hit the market this summer. Or, in the case of the Carolina Hurricanes and Justin Faulk, those who could hit the market next summer.
Justin Faulk is a key piece of the future for the Hurricanes and will see his entry-level contract come to an end after this year. Carolina obviously has every intention of bringing him back. If they’re looking for a comparable deal, this is one that would actually work well for that sort of thing.
Though he missed some time with a sprained MCL this season, Faulk put together another strong year for the Hurricanes. One could make the argument that when Faulk went down, so did Carolina’s season, though there were also other reasons that contributed to them failing to make the playoffs.
Faulk posted 15 points from the blue line in 2013, appearing in 38 games. He’s the type of player that has proven he can play in all situations, logging heavy minutes at even strength, on the power play, and also while a man down. His skill set, and his production, is awfully similar to what we saw from Josi in his breakout year in 2013.
If the Hurricanes are going to look at a new deal for Faulk, whether it’s this year or summer, looking at the Josi deal would be smart. It’s a reasonable term for a young defenseman, as Faulk just recently turned 21, and a $4 million cap hit for all that he brings to the table isn’t bad, particularly in this market. The deals likely won’t be identical, but can definitely be looked at as a starting point when negotiations do begin.