The Carolina Hurricanes have signed defenceman Jaccob Slavin to a seven-year contract extension that packs an average annual value of $5.3 million. That’s quite an upgrade from his entry level contract, which has a season remaining for a cool $742,500.

“Jaccob is one of the cornerstones of our team moving forward and it was important to secure him with our organization long term,” said general manager Ron Francis. “We believe he is one of the top young defencemen in the NHL today and are thrilled that he and his wife Kylie have made their home in Raleigh.”

The contract kicks in for the 2018-2019 season.

Slavin had 34 points in 2016-2017, including five goals and 29 assists. He led the Hurricanes in blocked shots, takeaways and ice time, averaging 23:26 a game. He also finished the regular season with a plus-23 rating, tied for first on the club.

“We love it here and we’ve definitely made it a home ever since we first got out here,” Slavin said of moving to Carolina. “It’s been awesome. It definitely made the decision-making real easy.”

Slavin will be entering his third NHL season with the Hurricanes in 2017-2018 and will be a huge part of a young defensive core for the team. With Noah Hanifin, Brett Pesce, Justin Faulk, and Trevor van Riemsdyk on the roster, things are looking up along Carolina’s blueline.

Francis and Co. have been busy in the off-season thus far, signing Justin Williams to a two-year deal and snagging goalie Scott Darling from Chicago along with Marcus Kruger. They also traded for van Riemsdyk.

The task now turns to signing restricted free agents Hanifin and Pesce, who are in roughly the same boat as Slavin. That should be a fair indicator as to what kind of money and term will be thrown around in the next while.

20-year-old Hanifin has a year to go on his entry level deal. He had 29 points last season, including four goals and 25 assists in 81 games.

And Pesce has a year to go on his entry level deal. The 22-year-old had 20 points in 82 games, including two goals and 18 assists.

Even with the buyout to Alexander Semin and the retained salary of goalie Eddie Lack on the books, Francis and the Hurricanes have a good chunk of change to work with. That should ensure their young defensive group stays intact for years to come.

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