Carl Hagelin was traded to the Anaheim Ducks on June 27. (Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images)
Carl Hagelin inked a four-year, $16 million deal, and that contract could look great for the Ducks if the 26-year-old can finally crack the 20-goal plateau. Hagelin has scored 17 goals in each of the past two seasons and has been a consistent 30-40 point scorer since entering the league 2011-12.
When the New York Rangers dealt Carl Hagelin to the Anaheim Ducks at the draft, it was a trade made not because the Rangers had no more use for the speedy winger, but because New York simply couldn’t afford to pay Hagelin what he was asking.
Over his four seasons in the NHL, Hagelin, 26, had been a steady 15-goal, 30-point player and, as a restricted free agent, he was due for a healthy raise on the $2.25 million he had earned over the past two seasons.
Well, Hagelin got that raise Friday, signing a four-year, $16 million deal with the Ducks that will keep him locked up until the 2018-19 season. And at an average cap hit of only $4 million per year, the Blueshirts might be kicking themselves in two years’ time.
Hagelin’s numbers over the past three seasons are enough to warrant a $4 million salary. That he’s entering his prime and could, realistically, play alongside the duos of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf or Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg makes it look even better. With 17 goals in each of his past two seasons — not to mention a 17-goal pace in the lockout-shortened campaign — Hagelin has been an effective middle-six forward for entirety of his four years in the NHL, and it doesn’t appear a drop off is coming anytime soon.
More than that, Hagelin’s advanced statistics bode well for the Ducks, who still have more than $8 million left in salary cap space with a roster that is looking more and more threatening as the season draws near.
Over the past three years, aside from scoring somewhere near half a point per game, Hagelin has been a possession driving winger who has netted 33 goals and 78 points at 5-on-5, while having his side score nearly 60 percent of the goals while he’s on ice. There are three players whose contributions at 5-on-5 closely mimic that of Hagelin’s in the past three seasons: Minnesota’s Zach Parise, Nashville’s Craig Smith and Pittsburgh’s Patric Hornqvist. All three are set to earn more than Hagelin, with Parise’s salary almost doubling Hagelin’s.
Of the four players, only Parise has notched more goals, assists and points. And while Hagelin does have the fewest points per 60 minutes — his 1.73 falls short of Smith’s 1.75, Parise’s 1.8 and Hornqvist’s 1.96 — there’s no telling what might happen if he skates alongside better linemates. The three forwards Hagelin has played most of his minutes over the past three seasons with in New York are Brad Richards, Kevin Hayes and Ryan Callahan. That’s not exactly a murderers row.
In Anaheim, Hagelin is either a second- or third-line winger, but he is going to get his shot at playing with Kesler and Silfverberg. If they find chemistry, he’ll be there for much of the season. If they don’t gel, Hagelin can drop down to the third line and try his hand at another near-20-goal campaign alongside Rickard Rakell.
Whatever the case may be, though, $4 million per year for Hagelin as he heads into his prime is a fantastic deal for the Ducks. And if he can finally crack that 20-goal plateau, it’s going to look even better.