On Wednesday, Carolina reached an agreement with Jaccob Slavin on a seven-year contract extension. The extension, which kicks in after the 2017-2018 campaign, is worth $5.3 million a year and will carry the Denver native through his prime years to the age of thirty-one.
Last season, Slavin proved to be an elite defensive talent as well as an offensive threat. While not flashy, he is a player that excels in every part of the game.
On offense, the 23-year-old had a breakout year. Tied for fourth on the team (first among defensemen) with 29 assists, he showed that he is able to be a solid puck-distributor. Only Elias Lindholm had more helpers last year than Slavin. Out of all NHL defensemen, he was tied for sixth in even-strength assists; eleven of which were of the primary flavor. With Carolina’s recent improvement on offense via free agency and the continued development of young core players like Lindholm, Skinner, and Aho, Canes fans should expect Slavin’s offensive production to continue its upward trajectory.
As good as Slavin has looked on offense, his defensive skill set is where he really thrives. He ranked in the top 30 among NHL defensemen who played at least have their team’s games in Goals-Against per 60 minutes (1.862), Corsi-For Percentage (53.34), and blocks (161). He led all defensemen with 83 takeaways.
To visually see how much of a lock down player Slavin is in his own end, check out the HockeyViz graphic below. Carolina’s unblocked shot rates are well below league-average when #74 is skating.
One part of Slavin’s game that does not get enough recognition is his discipline. Last season, he only made six trips to the sin bin for a total of 12 minutes. As Dimitri Filipovic pointed out below, Slavin has only taken 10 penalties his whole career. An unbelievable stat when you factor in he led the Hurricanes in time-on-ice.
Its hard to fathom Jaccob Slavin becoming a better hockey player. Its harder to fathom the fact he is entering only his second full season in the league. Fortunately for Canes fans, both of these things are true. After Carolina locks down Brett Pesce long term — the franchise will have possibly the best 1-2 punch in the league for years to come.
UPDATE: A Pesce extension could be on the horizon. Fingers crossed.