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Blues trade Joel Edmundson to the Carolina Hurricanes for Justin Faulk

What future does this foretell for the future UFAs?

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Edmundson was supposed to play in Sunday afternoon’s preseason game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He did not.

This is probably why.

This afternoon, before the Blues pre-season game against the Dallas Stars, the Blues sent Joel Edmundson and Dominik Bokk (as well as a 2021 7th round pick) to the Carolina Hurricanes for Justin Faulk and a fifth round pick in this year’s draft. Faulk was in his last season of a contract before entering UFA status; Edmundson was on a one-year deal for $3,100,000 before he reached UFA status as well. The contract is a pay cut for the Hurricanes, as Faulk’s contract for this season is a $4,833,333 hit.

He also had a modified NTC, meaning Faulk wants to be in St. Louis. He also obviously wants to be in St. Louis because the Blues signed him to a seven year contract extension at $6,500,000 a season. Faulk is a talented defenseman with an offensive upside. Last season he finished with 11 goals and 24 assists.

So, why do the Blues do this?

First off, Faulk is a massive upgrade over Edmundson. He’s been an all-star defenseman three times. He’s really, really good.

Second off, they have two very important pending UFAs at the end of this season: Brayden Schenn and Alex Pietrangelo. This doesn’t make the cap situation right now any better, and it certainly doesn’t make the pending situation with Pietrangelo any more clear.

So when Pietrangelo said that his pending UFA status wasn’t going to be a distraction? Turn the speculation up to 11, folks. The distraction has arrived. If this is a sign that discussion is headed in an unfavorable direction for the Blues and Petro’s last season on his deal hasn’t even started yet, this is an unfortunate development for the captain and his future role with the team. It might not even exist.