Some big dominoes fell today -- so what comes next?
When the NHL draft wrapped up in Buffalo, a lot of people were surprised at how few trades went down. For all the rumors that were out there, nothing too major actually happened over the weekend.
Well, a few major things happened today. Taylor Hall was traded to New Jersey for Adam Larsson. P.K. Subban was traded to Nashville for Shea Weber. And, oh yeah, Steven Stamkos re-signed in Tampa Bay.
All three of those deals are going to have a trickle-down effect, so let’s explore that further.
The market for defensemen
Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli might not be done fixing his defense yet; he could still sign a free agent like Jason Demers. But the pressure to address his blue line has been lessened with the acquisition of Larsson.
Keep an eye now on the the Boston Bruins. They’d love to add a right shot d-man that can move the puck, which is why you hear names like Kevin Shattenkirk and Jacob Trouba linked to them. Of the two, Shattenkirk is the most likely to be traded somewhere. Trouba, a restricted free agent with the Jets, is more of a long shot to be dealt, but until he signs somewhere, the speculation will continue. Dougie Hamilton was in a similar situation last year, and he was traded.
Cam Fowler is another defenseman that expects to be traded. He’s a left shot, but he can move the puck and teams are always looking for that.
UFA d-men that could potentially fill a top-four role include Demers, Brian Campbell, and Dan Hamhuis. It’s not a particularly long list; hence, the price Chiarelli convinced himself to pay for young Larsson. Time will tell if it was worth it.
The market for centers
Stamkos was by far the biggest fish that could’ve hit the market, and his decision to re-sign with the Lightning was probably most frustrating for a team like Detroit. The Red Wings don’t have Pavel Datsyuk anymore, and that’s a massive hole to fill. A Plan B could be someone like Frans Nielsen, but he’s 32 now. He’s not going to replace what Datsyuk used to bring, or what Stamkos could have.
Another free-agent center is Eric Staal. He still believes he can play in the top six, though others aren’t so convinced.
The market for goal-scorers
Stamkos also affects this, since scoring goals is what he does best. The Vancouver Canucks were interested in him for that reason, though nobody gave them much of a chance to actually sign him.
Now the teams in need of offense will have to focus on UFAs like Milan Lucic, Kyle Okposo, Mikkel Boedker, Loui Eriksson, David Backes, Troy Brouwer, and Thomas Vanek. Those guys have all enjoyed success in the NHL, but age and mileage are always a consideration. (Vanek is a good example why.) Shane Doan is another forward who could be available, but he’s almost 40.