With free agency a mere 48 hours away, teams are already making moves to solidify the approach they are going to be taking on July 1st. Let’s take a look at three blockbuster decisions made in the span of 30 minutes Wednesday in this edition of Zero Pucks Given.
Taylor Hall (EDM) for Adam Larsson (NJD)
Taylor Hall (left), and Adam Larsson (right)
What in the world is Peter Chiarelli smoking? Desperate times call for desperate trades. This GM has now traded Phil Kessel, Tyler Seguin, and Taylor Hall in his career. Third times the charm? Adam Larsson is a 23 year old, 6’3 defenseman capable of moving the puck up the ice, but for Taylor Hall? No way! This guy is not a No.1 defenseman. One of the most lopsided trades in recent memory.
Here’s my take, Edmonton really must have had no trade partners. Eberle and Nuge were two guys you wanted to see traded but truthfully their value isn’t that high. Hall is really the only proven valuable commodity the Oilers have outside of McDavid. The hockey business is cruel. I believe that there were not enough quality defenseman who were not only available, but willing to go to Edmonton, even for Taylor Hall. Chiarelli was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Here’s a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in ten years and had four #1 overall picks on the roster. Something had to change and I honestly think Larsson was the best defenseman they could have gotten which is a very poor reflection on the hockey culture in Edmonton.
New Jersey on the other hand is laughing right now. They just got an instant superstar to play alongside Adam Henrique who, by the way, played with Hall in the OHL with the Windsor Spitfires. Bromance reunited?
Grade: A++ (for NJD) , F (for Edmonton)
P.K Subban (MTL) for Shea Weber (NSH)
Okay, here’s the thing. Nashville won this trade, but not by much! Weber, 30, is only three years older than Subban. For defenseman, that isn’t so old so I think Weber has at least a solid six years left in the tank.
Last season, P.K Subban proved his ineffectiveness defensively, showing that he wasn’t Norris quality without Carey Price. However, Subban is your premier offensive defenseman which is something Nashville hasn’t had since they drafted and traded away Seth Jones.
It also speaks volumes to the trust Nashville has in Roman Josi’s defensive game (which is elite). Yes, you lose Weber but Josi can hold it down, and now they are a much bigger force especially on the PP. For Montreal, you get THE premier shut-down defenseman, you just have to hope he retains that form.
Grade: A+ (for NSH), B- (for MTL)
Stamkos Resigns in Tampa Bay
Well that wasn’t very exciting. It’s so rare that a player like Stamkos hits the open market and guess what? He didn’t! This is actually the smart move for Stammer. This was honestly the best situation he was going to be in. A team that went to the Eastern Conference Finals two years in a row (once without him due to injury, impressively) was the clear cut best choice for getting a ring. Solid goalie (Bishop), solid defenseman (Hedman) and a solid core of secondary scoring (Triplets line).
As a Leafs fan, I’m sad to see him stay, but we got Matthews so I’m cool.