If Milan Lucic was unsure about signing as a free agent with the Edmonton Oilers, he got the extra push he needed from The Great One.
In an interview with Jeremy Roenick and Billy Jaffe on the RoenickLife Podcast, Lucic said he made a call to Wayne Gretzky to get some guidance on his decision. After talking to Gretzky, who spent nine of his most memorable NHL seasons in Edmonton, Lucic was convinced.
The CHL Import Draft can bring some incredible talents to major junior teams, but some franchises can get stung when they shoot for the moon. Two franchises that appear to be in that situation are the OHL’s Oshawa Generals and WHL’s Kootenay Ice.
As the dust settles from the opening weekend of the NHL’s annual unrestricted free-agent frenzy, teams that missed out on the best UFA talent could turn to the trade market. For several clubs, that means pursuing a top-pairing defenseman.
After the Edmonton Oilers acquired Adam Larsson last week, GM Peter Chiarelli said he was pleased with his current D-corps. However, that hasn’t stopped speculation he could still be in the market for a skilled puck-moving rearguard.
Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic insists he intends to re-sign restricted free agent blueliner Tyson Barrie. However, the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples suggests until Barrie and Avs coach Patrick Roy declare things are fine between them, the Oilers could still pursue the 24-year-old defenseman. TSN’s Bob McKenzie also shares this view.
For too long, the Edmonton Oilers have been an easy mark. For too long, their young players have been in a losing culture and have learned their lessons well. For too long they’ve been too complacent, not physical enough and seemed to accept losing a little too easily.
That ends. Now.
Signing Milan Lucic to a seven-year deal worth $42 million will instantly transform the Oilers dressing room from a country club to a boot camp. Lucic will be to the Oilers what Gary Roberts was to the Carolina Hurricanes, a veteran player with some snarl and a pedigree that will come in and make his young teammates accountable. In short, Lucic gives the Oilers an identity.
Less than 24 hours before the free agency period begins, several NHL teams got to work on some housekeeping Thursday. Six teams placed players on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout. The NHL’s buyout window closes at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday.
There had already been some notable buyouts, including the Canucks’ Chris Higgins, the Wild’s Thomas Vanek, and the Blue Jackets Fedor Tyutin.
The Blue Jackets got back to work on Thursday, buying out the final year of right winger Jared Boll’s contract. Boll, 30, scored one goal in 30 games in 2015-16.
During a 2011 NHL playoff game between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins, iconic ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ play-by-play man Bob Cole exclaimed ‘Everything is happening!” during a frantic series of play.
It has become a go-to saying for hockey fans, especially on Twitter, during periods of excitement or big news. It can definitely be applied to what happened on Wednesday afternoon.
While many fans, pundits, and media sat and waited for big news to start happening on Friday during the official start of free agency, several teams swooped in and made a series of blockbuster moves. Each move on its own could have carried a news cycle for a day, but three came in such rapid succession that it nearly “broke the internet”, as they say.
Here’s a timeline of what went down on Wednesday:
For a fleeting moment, before P.K. Subban, Shea Weber and Steven Stamkos stole the spotlight, Wednesday’s blockbuster trade between the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils was the off-season’s biggest story. Left winger Taylor Hall for defenseman Adam Larsson. One player for the other. No salary retained.
The transaction was…poorly received by the Edmonton Oilers fanbase judging by the social media response. “Worst trade in NHL history” isn’t a term tossed about lightly, but it popped up repeatedly. Taylor Hall is among the best left wingers in the game, blessed with major speed and scoring ability. He was the first overall pick of the 2010 draft. His 0.86 points per game since arriving in the NHL in 2010-11 ranks 26th, ahead of Joe Pavelski, Vladimir Tarasenko and Tyler Seguin over that stretch. Hall even made a concerted effort to improve his defensive ability under new coach Todd McLellan this season. Hall had the second best 5-on-5 relative Corsi on the Oilers after Brandon Davidson among regulars with 400 or more minutes played, per puckalytics.com. Better yet, Hall has four years left on his contract at a $6-million cap hit. That’s quite reasonable.
But now Hall is a New Jersey Devil. Only one man, Larsson, heads the other way. Losing Larsson, who had begun to mature into a big-minutes NHL defenseman, leaves a gaping hole on New Jersey’s blueline, but it was clearly a “who cares” trade for GM Ray Shero. You don’t pass up Hall for Larsson. You fix your D-corps later.
When the off-season began, the Edmonton Oilers and GM Peter Chiarelli made it known acquiring a defenseman was their top priority. On Wednesday, they got one — but paid a very steep price.
The Oilers sent left winger Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson in a stunning 1-for-1 trade.
Hall, 24, scored 26 goals in 2015-16 and has averaged 23.2 goals over his five full NHL seasons. He was the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, and has developed into an elite goal-scoring winger at even strength, and was in consideration for Canada’s team at the World Cup. He is under contract until 2019-20 at an annual cap hit of $6 million.