All-Star defenseman comes to St. Louis for Joel Edmundson, prospect
Dominik Bokk, swap of picks; Faulk signs seven-year, $45.5 million extension
ST. LOUIS -- The Blues made a big splash Tuesday with a blockbuster trade when they acquired three-time all-star defenseman Justin Faulk from the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Blues also get a 2020 fifth-round pick in exchange for defenseman Joel Edmundson, forward Dominik Bokk and a 2021 seventh-round pick.
|(Carolina Hurricanes photo)|
Justin Faulk was acquired by the Blues on Tuesday
Faulk, who has one year remaining on his current contract with an average annual value of $4.833 million, has signed a seven-year contract extension worth $45.5 million with the Blues ($6.5 million AAV) that runs through the 2026-27 season.
The Hurricanes will pick up just over 14 percent of Faulk's salary/cap hit for this season, bringing it down from $4.833 million to $4.156 million. The extension includes a full no-trade clause for the first five seasons and a limited no-trade the final two seasons where Faulk can submit a list of 15 teams he can't be traded to.
It's a bold move for general manager Doug Armstrong, whose squad won the Stanley Cup last season, and helps solidify the right side of their defensive unit to go with Alex Pietrangelo, Colton Parayko and Robert Bortuzzo.
"Justin comes with a very deep and strong resume, a player that's played in the league for a number of years, he's 27 years old, in the prime part of his hockey career," Armstrong said. "We feel he's tailor-made to today's NHL, a skater, someone that can transport and move the puck, touches both ends of special teams and has logged a lot of minutes over the years. When I look at our group of defense now, probably the most balanced group we've had since I've been here."
Faulk had been rumored to be on his way put of Carolina when the two sides couldn't come to a contract extension. The Hurricanes reportedly offered one at the 2019 NHL Draft, and when it didn't come to fruition, it became clear that Faulk would be on his way to another club. Anaheim and Winnipeg were two teams talked about often, but the Blues came in quickly and were able to consummate the parameters of a deal.
"It was a little surprising to be honest for a team that just won the Stanley Cup and had a pretty good d-corps," Faulk's agent Brian Bartlett said. "You're looking across the league, the ones that maybe you circle that maybe could use a ton of d-help. I'm not sure necessarily that it was St. Louis, but when you get the call, you start looking into it more deeply, I think Justin's going to do a nice job complementing that group and hopefully bring them back where they were again last year."
Faulk said he was equally as surprised.
"You go through it and I was in a situation where I had a no-trade clause there in the last deal, so you kind of look through and you look at teams and kind of see the cap situations and also see what teams have depth," Faulk said. "To be honest, St. Louis wasn't necessarily one team we were looking at that would be able to make the trade happen. Then they kind of reached out and not necessarily like a huge surprise, but probably more so welcoming it more than anything, if anything. We were happy to go forward and try to get a deal done with the Blues and we were obviously able to and we're happy to be able to get where we are right now."
The Blues were only going to make a deal if, and only if, Faulk would sign an extension; it was imperative.
"Yes it was," Armstrong said. "Just because of what we were giving up. We didn't want to get into a situation when we were ... giving up for a player that we wanted this year, but not having some security and cost certainty moving forward to Justin and credit to ultimately his agents. They understood what we were trying to accomplish. Going in, I was quite honest that we have two high-profile (unrestricted) free agents (Alex Pietrangelo and Brayden Schenn) that our goal is to try and sign and to do that, we needed him to be understanding of the overall cap situation and he was. We've seen some recent contracts that he was willing to come to our group at a cap hit we could understand and afford with an idea of trying to keep our group together forward moving past this season."
Faulk, 27, was originally drafted by the Hurricanes in the second round of 2010. He's 6-foot, 217 pounds and a right-handed shot with offensive upside.
Faulk spent his entire seven-year career in Carolina, including serving as captain for one season (2017-18) and as an assistant captain for three seasons (2015-17, 2018-19).
A three-time All-Star (2015, 2016, 2017), Faulk has appeared in 559 regular-season games and has 258 points (85 goals, 173 assists). Since 2011-12, he ranks 26th among all defensemen in points and 22nd in power play points (102). In 2018-19, Faulk had 35 points (11 goals, 24 assists) in 82 regular-season games and eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 15 Stanley Cup playoff games, helping Carolina reach the Eastern Conference Final before being swept by the Boston Bruins.
"It's good. It's nice to be moving on to a team, not that I didn't want to be in Carolina at all, but it's just nice that if you're going to move on and you're going to go to another team, another situation, it's another team that's having success and doing well," Faulk said. "I'm happy to be a part of a team that's going to hopefully continue to have success. Obviously we all know what happened last season. That's great, and it's nice to join a team that's feeling good and confident and knowing what the rigors are like to keep going."
Edmundson, 26, leaves the Blues after four seasons. The second-round pick in 2011 (46th overall) was awarded a one-year, $3.1 million contract in arbitration after playing on a one-year, $3 million contract last season. He had 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 64 regular-season games last season and by his own admission, was looking to have a more consistent season this year.
The Blues also part ways with Bokk, their 2018 first-round pick (25th overall). He is playing on load with Rogle of the Swedish Hockey League this season.
"He was looking for a really strong prospect," Armstrong said of Hurricanes GM Don Waddell. "We bandied around different situations there. We had to add Bokk to this equation. We knew we had to add someone to get the deal done. Joel was a player that has experience, can help them and also helped the salary situation cap world even itself out a little bit. Carolina has agreed to retain a little over 14 percent of the salary this year, which allows us to be cap-compliant I would say with, I wouldn't say a healthy bit of room but more than people probably think initially. It started last week, we pushed through the weekend on it. We got to the point where we were ready to make the trade and they gave us some time to talk to Faulk and his agent, Brian and Steve Bartlett were the agents. I didn't get a chance to talk to Justin until today, but once he heard it was our team, I talked to him. It was late, late Sunday evening. I said, 'We'd talk on Monday,' and we were able to get down to some work and it just picked up steam from there."
Bartlett said the extension was a breeze getting done.
"Really quickly. The first we kind of got wind of anything cooking was yesterday morning and got a call from Carolina saying, 'We might have a potential trade for your player, but the team would like to talk to you guys about the possibility of an extension. Before we move any closer, would you guys like to talk,'" Bartlett said. "We asked who it was and got on the phone yesterday morning."
Some are surprised with the term Faulk got, taking him to 35 years old, and Armstrong isn't one to typically give out contracts longer than 4-5 years, but was willing to go term with this player.
"That's the price of doing business in today's NHL," Armstrong said. "You look at his comparable group whether it's [Jared] Spurgeon or [Cam] Fowler or [Ryan] Ellis, they get to a certain point if you're going to give up potential cap dollars, you want to get some security and some term. Our analytics showed defensemen can play to the level they're at at 27 until up to probably 32 or 33. At the tail end, it's with all these players we need them to support us and then maybe at the end, we'll support them."
|(Carolina Hurricanes photo)|
The Blues acquired defenseman Justin Faulk from the
Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.
And Faulk, only knowing Jaden Schwartz on the team, was comfortable with going long-term.
"The agent kind of handles some of that stuff, the conversations with Doug Armstrong," Faulk said. "They give me the picture on what they think the future can be and then it gets kind of relayed on to me. I looked at the roster a little bit. I won't lie, I was more so looking at the D. I know who's there and what not, the forwards too, but you just try to get the feel of what you think and obviously we all know the team's in position right now that they're trying to win again and keep that success going. You never know what the future's going to be. I don't know who any of the prospects are, it's tough to keep up the older I get, the longer I play, but you just know who's on the team today and you like that team. You just have to believe in the people running the team that they're going to do their best to keep that success happening and hopefully for a long time."
Armstrong said the acquisition of Faulk has no bearing on potential negotiations, deals for potential UFA's Alex Pietrangelo and Brayden Schenn.
"Ultimately the pie is so big and [Faulk] has taken out a slice of it now, but our goal was to do this with the understanding we felt we still had the ability getting creative and doing other things to sign those guys," Armstrong said. "That's still our mandate."