Over a week ago, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk appeared on the verge of getting traded to the Anaheim Ducks. Last Monday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the two clubs “intensely discussed” a deal involving the 27-year-old blueliner.
Faulk is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. His days in Carolina seemed to be numbered following the Hurricanes’ recent signing of former Toronto Maple Leafs rearguard Jake Gardiner to a four-year contract.
Friedman indicated the Ducks were on Faulk’s 15-team no-trade list, requiring his blessing for the deal to go through. Friedman also said Anaheim was interested in signing Faulk to a contract extension. Elliott Teaford of The Orange County Register reported the Ducks needed an experienced right-shot defenseman. With over $8.5 million in salary-cap space, Teaford felt they could easily afford Faulk’s current $4.83-million cap hit.
By late-afternoon Monday, Luke DeCock of Raleigh’s The News & Observer tweeted his belief the two clubs had a deal in place pending Faulk’s approval. He speculated Ducks winger Ondrej Kase would be part of the return, claiming the Hurricanes had a “longstanding interest” in him. Despite an injury history that includes concussions and recent shoulder surgery, the 23-year-old Kase has 30-goal potential. With Justin Williams stepping away from the game this season, the Hurricanes need a scoring right winger.
As the week progressed, however, the anticipated trade had yet to occur. The Athletic’s Josh Cooper wondered if the Faulk camp leaked the proposed deal in hopes of drumming up more trade interest in their client, or if the Hurricanes did to let it be known the blueliner is available.
By the weekend, the deal appeared dead. Teaford reported Ducks GM Bob Murray implied Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon leaked Kase’s name as the player his club wanted for Faulk. Teaford also speculated Faulk probably didn’t get the seven-year contract extension he sought. Kase, meanwhile, claimed to be unfazed by the rumor and remained focused on the upcoming season.
Since then, there’s no indication the Hurricanes are any closer to shipping Faulk to Anaheim. If this deal has fallen through, it won’t be the last time his name surfaces in this season’s rumor mill.
These reports have also provided an indication that any trade involving Faulk could depend upon signing him to a contract extension.
As for the Ducks, Murray has signalled his intention to bolster the right side of his blueline for the coming season. If a Faulk deal is off the table, the Ducks GM could explore other options in the coming weeks.
NO PULJUJARVI DEAL IN SIGHT
Don’t expect the Edmonton Oilers to trade Jesse Puljujarvi before the start of the season. Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Journal last week reported GM Ken Holland claimed he hasn’t received any decent offers for 21-year-old right winger. Selected fourth overall in 2016, Puljujarvi is playing in Finland as he waits for the Oilers to action his trade request.
Holland believes there are clubs interested in Puljujarvi but indicated things had gone quiet in recent weeks. Those teams may be unwilling meet Holland’s asking price of a draft pick and a top prospect. The Oilers GM said he’ll let this situation play itself out.
Puljujarvi is a restricted free agent who lacks arbitration rights, so his only leverage is to play in Europe while awaiting a trade. A strong performance in Finland could make him more enticing to NHL clubs seeking a promising right winger. The clock is ticking, however, as Puljujarvi will be ineligible to play in the NHL this season if he’s not under contract by Dec. 1. The Oilers would retain his rights, though, meaning this standoff could resume next summer.
HONKA REQUESTS A TRADE
Jesse Puljujarvi isn’t the only first-round selection hoping to change teams.
Last Friday, Matthew DeFranks of The Dallas Morning News reported Stars GM Jim Nill said defenseman Julius Honka asked to be traded. Honka, 23, struggled to crack the Stars’ blueline since they selected him 14th overall in the 2014 draft. In July, DeFranks reported Nill looked into trading the youngster.
Despite Honka’s difficulties, a couple of clubs apparently have some interest in him. Over the weekend, Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reported the Montreal Canadiens were looking into it, claiming they’re interested in a player-for-player swap. The Carolina Hurricanes are also said to be interested, perhaps because Trevor van Riemsdyk could miss the start of the season as he recovers from off-season shoulder surgery. Their signing of Fredrik Claesson on Tuesday to a one-year, two-way deal likely takes them out of the market for Honka.
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