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Our Sources Tell Us: Justin Faulk being shopped to Detroit?

Elliotte Friedman says that a Faulk-for-Andreas Athanasiou deal makes sense to him. We’re not so sure about that.

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NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

“Our Sources Tell Us” is an occasional series wherein we look at possible trade targets for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts might be the most plugged-in column in hockey, and when he mentions something as a possibility, you can bet a significant amount of money that it is being discussed somewhere.

And when he dropped this nugget early in today’s column, our eyebrows were raised:

2. Trade that might make sense only to me: something around Justin Faulk from Carolina to Detroit for Andreas Athanasiou.

Oh. Oh really, now.

Normally, in a column like this we would do the positives and negatives, but I’ll be honest: I’m finding absolutely nothing positive in this rumor. In fact, I can condense the good news section of this column down to one paragraph.

Athanasiou is on pace for a career high in points and has already surpassed his high-water mark with 13 assists this season. He’s signed for a relatively modest $1.38 million, and will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get to the downsides - and, oh boy, are there plenty of them.

First, this hero chart. I’ve taken the names off the chart. Who would you rather have?

Probably the player on the right, correct? Much better numbers, more impactful goals, drives shots per game, etc., etc. A better all-around player, any way you slice it.

Player B is Justin Faulk. Player A is Adam Larsson, who you’ll recall was traded for Taylor Hall before the 2016 season.

You don’t need me to tell you that Andreas Athanasiou is not, and is never likely to become, Taylor Hall.

So that’s one strike against this potential deal.

Here’s another: Athanasiou is a center who has had trouble consistently playing center in the NHL, and is being groomed as a winger. Don’t the Hurricanes - cough, Elias Lindholm - have their quota met already on that front?

And then there’s the Wings’ cap situation, which is a shambles. Detroit has the highest cap hit in the league, and are only under the cap by virtue of Johan Franzen’s long-term injury exception. Faulk is relatively affordable, at just over $4 million AAV, but even that is too rich for the Wings’ blood. They’d need to move someone else, but who? Tomas Tatar and Justin Abdelkader are being paid king’s ransoms to produce less than Derek Ryan. Henrik Zetterberg is going nowhere. We’ve already had the Martin Frk Experience in these parts.

In fact, outside of Dylan Larkin, there is not one player on the Red Wings roster that should be of any interest to the Hurricanes. Dealing Faulk should bring back more than a third lne tweener and whatever flotsam happens to make the salaries work.

Look, I’ll be honest: as I said to someone on Twitter earlier this week, I have no idea what the market is for a Justin Faulk deal. Eric Staal, mired in a years-long malaise, fetched a draft pick and a B-level prospect in Aleksi Saarela when he was dealt at the 2016 deadline on an expiring contract. Faulk is younger, has a long-term contract, and plays a position that is perpetually in demand. His asking price should be very high, even if you’re selling low.

And it certainly should be higher than a package centered around Andreas Athanasiou.


You make the call: should the Canes pursue a Justin Faulk trade centered around Andreas Athanasiou?

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