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Carolina Hurricanes sign Jesper Fast to three-year, $6 million contract; four players file for arbitration

The Hurricanes have added some speed, penalty-killing ability and depth scoring to their middle six.

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

As first reported by Pierre LeBrun, the Carolina Hurricanes have signed free agent forward Jesper Fast, who spent the past seven seasons with the New York Rangers, to a three-year contract with a $2 million average annual value.

The contract structure breaks down as follows:

  • Year 1 - $1 million
  • Year 2 - $2 million
  • Year 3 - $3 million

For the Hurricanes, it’s a good, affordable signing of a player who can add some depth-scoring, speed and penalty-killing ability to their middle-six forward group.

Last year with the Rangers, Fast posted 12 goals, 29 points and a +16 rating in 69 games. His career best season came in 2017-18, with 13 goals and 33 points in 71 games. He averaged 2:21 shorthanded with New York, who drafted him in the sixth round in 2013, and chipped in two shorthanded goals.

From Adam Herman of SB Nation affiliate site Blueshirt Banter, who was kind enough to share his thoughts on Fast:

“Jesper is a hard-working winger who is a coach’s favorite. He reads the play off the puck extremely well. One of the best defensive wingers in the league, he’s the kind of player who will do the hard work to get the puck to the team’s offensive creators. The one downside is that he himself is a relatively weak offensive presence. His shot and playmaking are below average. In Carolina I imagine he’ll be a third liner and on the top PK unit. He’s a perfect fit for their system.”

Fast played a role in the Rangers’ dominance against the Canes in recent years, with five goals and 14 points (his most against any team) in 24 games against Carolina. If you can’t beat them, get them to join you?

Of course, Fast was on the receiving end of a memorable hit that set the tone for Carolina’s three-game sweep of the Rangers in this year’s qualifying round. Perhaps there will need to be a handshake between Fast and fellow former Ranger Brady Skjei at the start of training camp?

It will be interesting to see if this is a precursor to another move for Carolina as, assuming a new contract for RFA Warren Foegele and a roster spot for Morgan Geekie, the team now has 13 forwards under contract. The Canes have about $5.7 million in cap space to sign Foegele and restricted free agent defenseman Haydn Fleury to new contracts. It’s possible the team could need to move another forward such as Nino Niederreiter or Ryan Dzingel to clear cap space.

The release from the team is below.

Also on Saturday, the NHLPA announced that four Hurricanes players have filed for salary arbitration. Forwards Warren Foegele and Clark Bishop and defensemen Haydn Fleury and Gustav Forsling will have their salaries for next season determined by an arbitrator if they cannot come to terms with the Hurricanes before their arbitration hearing, which will be scheduled between October 20 and November 8.

Filing for arbitration guarantees that a contract will be agreed between the Hurricanes and the player for next season, and eliminates any threat of an offer sheet from another team. Four other restricted free agents, forwards Steven Lorentz and Spencer Smallman and defensemen Oliwer Kaski and Roland McKeown, did not file for arbitration and remain restricted free agents. Kaski has already moved to the KHL and the Hurricanes will retain his rights for the next three years by virtue of extending him a qualifying offer.

Winger to join team on a three-year contract

Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with right wing Jesper Fast on a three-year contract. The deal will pay Fast an average-annual value (AAV) of $2 million per season through 2022-23.

“Jesper is an intelligent, versatile player who will fits the mold of how the Hurricanes play hockey under Rod Brind’Amour,” said Waddell.

Fast, 28, completed his seventh NHL season with the New York Rangers in 2019-20, scoring 12 goals and adding 17 assists (19 points) in 69 games played. The Nassjo, Sweden, native established a career high in plus/minus (+16) and recorded more than 100 hits (125) for the third consecutive season and the fifth time in the last six years. Fast (6’1”, 191 lbs.) led all Rangers and ranked 21stamong NHL forwards in shorthanded ice time (162:35) during the regular season, scoring a pair of shorthanded goals.

Originally selected by the Rangers in the sixth round, 157th overall, of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Fast has totaled 147 points (55g, 92a) in 422 career games. He served as an alternate captain for New York for the second consecutive year in 2019-20, and became the first player in Rangers’ history to receive the “Players’ Player” award in five consecutive seasons (2015-16 to 2019-20). The award is given to the Rangers player who “best exemplifies what it means to be a team player,” as voted on by his teammates.