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Don Waddell on Jesper Fast: ‘It was a perfect fit for us.’

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The Hurricanes’ GM spoke to the media about his newest signing and more potential moves.

2020 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Rebecca Fiorentino/NHLI via Getty Images

While day one of free agency was quiet for the Hurricanes, the team made a smart pickup Saturday, signing former Rangers free agent forward Jesper Fast to a three-year deal with a $2 million AAV.

General manager Don Waddell spoke to the media via Zoom Sunday about Fast’s signing and other potential business ahead for the Canes, here’s a full breakdown of what he had to say:

On the process of signing Fast: Prior to free agency, we meet as a staff and we identify players that we think fit into our system. We play a very fast system; [Rod Brind’Amour] likes to be on the attack with the puck. There’s a lot of good players in free agency, but we look at more of what players can play the way we like to play. Jesper was one of the guys that we identified early and as soon as we were able to, we contacted his agent and started the process of acquiring him. These processes take some time. I know talking to Jesper last night, it was a long day and a half for him. He was trying to make a decision and we were trying to make a deal with his agent, so he certainly was a player that we identified prior to free agency that we wanted to go after.

On Fast’s character: From my end, when you look at Jesper’s career, the last two years being an alternate captain in New York and winning the players’ player award, that’s voted by the players. When you’re voted one time, it’s a great feat. But to get voted five times, you know what he means to his teammates. Obviously we all talked to [Brady Skjei], and Brady couldn’t say enough good things about Jesper. So it was a perfect fit for us.

On if he’s had any more negotiations with Foegele and Fleury: We’ve talked to both agents. There’s a lot going on right now between the draft and free agency. The good thing is that we are talking. They have the right to file. That doesn’t mean it will go to arbitration, but they do protect their rights. Our goal is still to get things worked out and avoid going to arbitration. Nothing really to update as far as the negotiation part of it.

On if he expects the team to make more moves to add players: I think I’ve said it before, as the general manager you are always looking to improve your team. If there’s something that makes sense, both from the assets you have to give up and from a value standpoint. The other thing is, as I’ve said, we don’t have a lot of cap space either. We’ve got to be mindful of that. If something fits into all those parameters and it makes our team better, then we’ve got to take a look at it.