3 things to know about Jaccob Slavin, a superstar in the making
At first glance, the news warrants a few questions. Who the hell is Jaccob Slavin? Why does his first name have two Cs? And why is he about to make $5.3 million annually through 2024-25?
We may not know the origins of Slavin's name, but we do know he quietly emerged as one of the steadiest blue-liners in the NHL last season, and that he's on the fast track to superstardom.
Here are three things to know about the young, under-the-radar Hurricanes defender as he pushes to become a household name.
Slavin, a native of Colorado, was selected by the Hurricanes 120th overall in the 2012 entry draft. After three seasons with the Chicago Steel of the USHL, he went on to play two years at Colorado College before a 14-game pit stop with the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL.
From there, Slavin was given his first NHL shot in 2015-16, recording 20 points in 63 games for Carolina as a rookie.
As Chip Alexander of The News & Observer recalls, Carolina dealt Alexei Ponikarovksy to the New Jersey Devils in January 2012 for a prospect and a fourth-round pick - which turned into Slavin.
It's probably fair to say the Hurricanes won that deal.
However you slice it, Slavin has quickly developed into a top-pairing defender. Here are his stats compared to the league-average No. 1 blue-liner, courtesy of ownthepuck.blogspot.ca.
Among all defenseman with more than 1,300 minutes of ice time last season, Slavin ranked 12th with a Corsi For percentage of 53.01 at five-on-five, while Carolina controlled over 52 percent of scoring chances at even strength while he was on the ice. Slavin was regularly deployed on the Hurricanes' top pairing, and strongly contributed to their sixth-ranked penalty kill.
In terms of more traditional numbers, Slavin recorded five goals and 23 assists while averaging 23:26 of time per night. He ranked 13th in blocked shots with 161, and was the only blue-liner in the top 10 in takeaways, finishing second with 83. He was disciplined, too, committing just six minor penalties in 82 games all season.
Slavin has one year remaining on his entry-level deal, meaning his lucrative extension won't kick in until 2018-19. In only two seasons, he's proven to be valuable in virtually every facet of the game, leading general manager Ron Francis to deem him a "cornerstone" of the organization going forward.
At just $5.3 million per season, Slavin's extension also has the potential to become one of the best bargains in the NHL, annually costing less than the likes of Nick Leddy, Tyler Myers, Erik Johnson, and Johnny Boychuk, all of whom he's outperformed since becoming a regular on Carolina's back end.
Slavin's deal was the latest in a series of solid moves Francis has made this offseason, as he looks to keep improving a team that hasn't qualified for the postseason since 2008-09. The Hurricanes have gradually built a quality roster, and locking down their rising young defenseman ahead of his prime years was another massive step in their quest to contend in the Eastern Conference.
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