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Jaccob Slavin’s Extension, Jake Guenztel’s Departure Highlight Day 1 of NHL Free Agency for Canes

By AIDAN JENSEN

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Whatever happens throughout NHL free agency, all we can tell you is that the Carolina Hurricanes’ roster is going to look significantly different in the fall.

Free agency officially kicked off on Monday, July 1 with plenty of fireworks, headlined by the Nashville Predators’ acquisition of stars Steven Stamkos and Jonathan Marchessault. Nashville also overpaid in a 7-year contract for former Carolina defenseman Brady Skjei, who tallied 13 goals and 34 assists last season as an offensive-minded defenseman.

Skjei wasn’t the only Cane to depart in free agency on Monday, as he was joined by fellow defenseman Brett Pesce, who signed with the New Jersey Devils. Last season was also a productive one for Pesce, who scored 10 goals and dished out 13 assists.

Without Skjei and Pesce, both formerly integral parts on one of the NHL’s best defensive units, don’t be surprised if Carolina’s defense struggles out of the gate this coming season.

Teuvo Teravainen, the former Chicago Blackhawk who has been an integral part of the Canes over the past eight campaigns, re-signed with Chicago. Stefan Noesen, a Canes winger from last year, joined Pesce in New Jersey.

None of these were the greatest offseason losses, though. Infact, a mid-season acquisition took that title.

On Sunday, June 30, Carolina traded 2017 Stanley Cup Champion and 2-time All-Star Jake Guentzel to the Tampa Bay Lightning – for just a 2025 third-round pick. Guenztel, who the Canes just acquired at the trade deadline for Michael Bunting and three prospects, was the playoff producer they needed with nine points (four goals, five assists) in 11 games.

Enough with the losses, though. Let’s move onto the re-signings and acquisitions, headlined by one of the best defensemen in the NHL.

Slavin in Raleigh to stay for eight years

Jaccob Slavin wasted no time during the 2015-2016 NHL season, establishing himself as one of league’s top defensemen with his combination of speed, hockey IQ and ability to defend seemingly any shot.

Slavin isn’t the offensive defensemen like you see more commonplace in hockey today, but instead a good, reliable player who can bail you out in a pinch.

Knowing how much he means to the organization, Carolina signed Slavin to an 8-year extension on Monday, July 1.

Slavin wasn’t the only signing/acquisition on Monday, as the Canes inked five other players to contracts: Jordan Martinook, Sean Walker, William Carrier, Tyson Jost and Eric Robinson.

Martinook, a Carolina fan favorite over the past six years, is coming off a 14-goal, 18-assist season. Walker, a defenseman who played last season with the Colorado Avalanche, is seen as a replacement for one of the Canes’ many losses. Carrier played left wing for the Vegas Golden Knights last year, Eric Robinson scored three goals across 47 NHL games last season and Tyson Jost, a center/left wing, split time between the NHL and AHL last year.

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