The player: Calvin de Haan, 27, defenseman
The terms: Four years at $4.55 million against the cap annually from the Carolina Hurricanes.
Where does he fit in?
Well, this was a surprise, as the rich got richer. The Carolina Hurricanes are more known for their inefficiencies (center, goalie, making the playoffs) than their true strength, which is incredible depth on defense. They got deeper when they traded for Dougie Hamilton of the Calgary Flames, and got deeper still in winning the Calvin de Haan derby.
The 27-year-old New York Islanders unrestricted free agent got serious interest from several teams, including John Tavares' Toronto Maple Leafs, but settled on a four-year term with the Hurricanes. The move gives the Hurricanes a left-handed defenseman to join Jaccob Slavin and Haydn Fleury, the No. 7 overall pick in 2014 who played 67 games last season for the Canes.
On the right side, they have Hamilton, Justin Faulk, Brett Pesce and restricted free agent Trevor van Riemsdyk. If that seems like a logjam, it is. The assumption that Faulk will be moved for help up front was underscored by adding de Haan to the deepest part of the team.
As for de Haan, he's a borderline top-pairing guy based on his analytics. (And continued kudos to Carolina analytics guru Eric Tulsky for finds like this.) His relative goals-for percentage was plus-6.22 vs. the rest of his team during the last 115 games, putting him in the top 25 defensemen in the NHL for that metric.
Does this deal make sense?
Here's the catch: Those 115 games were a total for the last two seasons. Calvin de Haan was limited to 33 games last season with a shoulder injury that required surgery, and 2016-17 was the only season in which he appeared in all 82 games. Injuries have been a factor for him, and that can't be ignored in this evaluation.
That said, the investment seems sound. Assuming Faulk and his two remaining seasons with a $4,833,333 cap hit are moved, de Haan slots right into that salary spot. The Hurricanes have done a good job getting their blue line locked up for manageable hits, including Slavin ($5.3 million through 2025) and Pesce ($4.025 million through 2024), and de Haan continues that trend if he's healthy.
Solid signing, and according to owner Tom Dundon, they won de Haan without offering the most money.
Overall Grade: B-plus
I'm not going A-minus here because, frankly, it's a move that sets up another one or two that will address the Canes' other needs. So the quality of the signing is somewhat linked to that. I'm also a little worried about de Haan's durability. But the potential is there for us to look back at this signing as a major building block towards Carolina becoming a championship contender.