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Will the defensive dominoes begin to fall after Gardiner signing?

September 7, 2019, 1:23 PM ET [26 Comments]
There continues to be a logjam with the group of unsigned young restricted free agents less than a week before the opening of training camp, but the four-year, $16.2 Million contract that Jake Gsrdiner signed with Carolina on Friday may put things in motion in the defensive market.

The Hurricanes adding Gardiner replaces Calvin deHaan (traded to Chicago earlier this summer), but it also gives GM Don Waddell some flexibility with pending free agent Justin Faulk and perhaps blueliner Dougie Hamilton.

Faulk and Hamilton’s names were both bandied about in trade chatter last season, and the Canes did not made any progress on getting Faulk extended, which could mean they will move him before the season or before the trade deadline as a rental. Hamilton makes $5.75 Million and has another year left on his contract, which means that Carolina could get a bigger return for someone with term left on his contract.

Indications were that at least four teams were trying to sign Gardiner to one-or-two year deals, but the ex-Leaf chose the team offering the most term. It is now possible with him off the market that those teams will turn their attention to someone like Rasmus Ristolainen, who Buffalo might be anxious to move before training camp if they get what they are looking for.

more to come
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