On Saturday afternoon, the Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes joined arms on a one-player deal that sent defenceman Joel Edmundson from the Hurricanes to the Canadiens in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round draft pick.
As a pending unrestricted free agent (when the signing season opens in early October 2020) the trade was mainly meant to serve the purpose of an extended negotiation window between the 6-foot-4, 215-pound blueliner and the Habs. In concluding his arbitrator-awarded, one-year contract this past season, Edmundson is officially a free agent and able to sign with whichever team he so chooses.
Edmundson, 27, has seen his name circulate through the trade rumours over the past year-and-a-half, before ultimately being dealt twice in a span of 354 days. Spending his first four seasons with the St. Louis Blues – which included the 2018-19 Stanley Cup championship – the Brandon, Manitoba product was traded in late September of 2019 to the defence-heavy Carolina Hurricanes, as a part of the return for Justin Faulk.
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Officially, that deal saw Edmundson, prospect Dominik Bokk and a 2021 seventh round selection go to Carolina, while Faulk came back to St. Louis for a 2020 fifth-rounder. Immediately following the trade, the Blues announced a massive seven-year, $45.5 million extension for Faulk, running through the 2026-27 season.
Edmundson spent the past season as a part of a rock-solid Hurricanes’ defence-corps, where he served the primary role of a shutdown defender, capable of providing offence when called upon. His 7.2 percent shooting success on 97 shots in 2019-20 was a career-high, as was his seven regular-season goals and 20 points in this year’s COVID-19 shortened 68-game season.
Following his first four seasons with St. Louis, Edmundson’s career took a slight turn on the business side of things. Unable to come to a conclusion on appropriate value and term as a restricted free agent last summer, Edmundson and the Blues opted to use an independent arbitrator to sort out the logistics behind a new deal.
The arbitrator associated with the contract dispute came to the conclusion that the former AAA bantam and midget Brandon Wheat King should be in line for a $3.1 million payday and promptly awarded Edmundson that contract.
Despite it being only a slight 3.33 percent raise from the even $3.0 million he earned during the 2018-19 season, the Blues’ former second-round pick from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft has put himself in line for a large payday on the open market as an unrestricted free agent this offseason – something Montreal is looking to avoid in sending a fifth-round draft pick to Carolina to help sway the Canadian blueliner to the Canadiens’ blueline.
After breaking into the league in 2015-16, Edmundson has seen his role and point totals continue to grow over the past four seasons of NHL play. The left-shooting defender played three seasons of WHL hockey for the Moose Jaw Warriors and Kamloops Blazers, before fine-tuning his trade in the American League with the Chicago Wolves, en route to earning a permanent place on the Blues’ back-end five years ago.
Boasting 20 goals, 72 points, and 320 penalty minutes in 337 career regular season games, Edmundson also has six goals, 15 points, and 34 penalty minutes in the postseason, with one goal and seven points coming in St. Louis’ extended 22-game playoff run in 2019, en route to Blues’ first ever Stanley Cup victory.