Edmundson arrives in Raleigh ready to add ‘physical edge’ to Hurricanes defense

The Hurricanes think Joel Edmundson, acquired from the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, can add more physicality to their defense. (Michael Dwyer / AP Photo)

RALEIGH — Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour seemed to know right where new defenseman Joel Edmundson fits in his new team’s plans for the upcoming 2019-20 season.

“We got a big D-man back that will fill a lot of what Faulker brought, that grittiness that we’re certainly, I think, missing,” Brind’Amour said while mentioning the player traded away in Tuesday’s trade, Justin Faulk. “And so I guess time will tell on how all that works out.”

Edmundson, after practicing with his new team for the first time Wednesday, was in a similar mindset.

“They’ve got a lot of good puck-moving defensemen who can skate, good hockey sense,” the 26-year-old Manitoba-born defender said. “I’m just looking to come out here and play my game, bring that physical edge that they might have been lacking a bit.”

Edmundson even seemed ready to embrace the Hurricanes rallying cry from last season.

“They made noise all around the league and I think the hockey world kind of recognized what kind of team they have here,” he said. “They’ve made some acquirements over the summer, and I’m just happy to be here and join the group of jerks.”

Edmundson still has, well, a bunch to learn about the Hurricanes, from where he’ll fit into the defensive rotation and the team’s systems to getting to know the area and his teammates and coaches.

He said other than a meeting Brock McGinn once through a mutual friend in St. Louis a couple of seasons ago, he didn’t know anyone on the roster personally.

“But I’ve heard great things about this group of guys, so I’m just looking forward to meeting everybody,” he said.

His new coach is hoping Edmundson’s run to the Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues last season will add to a locker room that is now without two of its leaders from last season, captain Justin Williams and Faulk, who wore an A.

“When you have guys that have gone through the wars to win the Stanley Cup, they get it,” said Brind’Amour, himself a Stanley Cup winner in Carolina in 2006. “You don’t even have to wonder where their mindset is — they know what it takes to win. And so, that’s a huge plus to have that on our blue line.”

That respect for a former champion goes the other way as well.

“He’s one of the nicest guys out there, but he’s intense at the same time,” Edmundson said of his new coach. “His intensity is contagious and you’ve got to respect a guy like that. He’s played in the league for several years, he’s done some great things, so I’m looking forward to playing for him.”

With eight days until the season opener against the Montreal Canadiens at PNC Arena, everyone is getting anxious to stop talking about off-the-ice issues, training camp practices and preseason games and get down to the real thing.

“You’re happy that we don’t have to talk about it anymore,” Brind’Amour said of the Faulk trade rumors finally coming to fruition. “After today, I think it’ll be done and now we’ve got our group. … Now it’s putting those pieces together we’ve talked about.”