Everything is happening: Recapping the craziest 53 minutes the NHL has seen in years

Shea Weber and P.K. Subban. (Getty Images)

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:

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Can we make any sense of the Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson trade?

Matt Larkin
Taylor Hall. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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.

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Oilers send Taylor Hall to Devils for Adam Larsson in stunning trade

Ian Denomme
Taylor Hall (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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.

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Rumor Roundup: Expansion draft rules could force teams to move goalies

Marc-Andre Fleury (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL is expected to announce its decision on a possible expansion to Las Vegas by June 22. More details recently emerged regarding the guidelines for an expansion draft that could affect this summer’s trade market .

It was originally believed players with no-movement clause carrying partial no-trade clauses (such as Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury) wouldn’t be protected from the draft. However, that only applies to players whose contracts expire at the end of 2016-17. That also includes those with full no-movement clauses. Those with contracts that run through 2017-18 must be protected.

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Former Bruin Savard dealt again in salary cap move

Marc Savard (Steve Babineau/Getty Images)

Marc Savard has now been traded twice without having played in a single game.

The injured 38-year-old center was dealt Friday – the second time in less than a year – in a move made strictly because of salary cap implications. Savard is now a member of the New Jersey Devils, leaving the Florida Panthers for minor-leaguer Paul Thompson and center Graham Black, a 23-year-old prospect.

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Patrik Elias wants to play one more year, but only if he can contribute to Devils

Jared Clinton
Patrik Elias  (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Patrik Elias is less than two months removed from his 40th birthday, but he may not be ready to hang up his skates just yet.

Even though Elias is coming off of an injury-riddled campaign that saw him able to suit up for only 16 games, Elias’ agent, Allan Walsh, told Sportsnet that Elias isn’t set on making the tough season his last one in the NHL. In the 16 games he was able to play between dealing with knee injuries, Elias scored two goals and eight points, but he wants to see if he can give it one more go with Devils.

“He desperately wants to play one more year,” Walsh told Sportsnet. “We’re not talking to other teams. If Patrik is able to play at the level he expects himself to play, if he can contribute to a team, I think New Jersey would very much love to have him back.” Read more

Getting To Know: Bruce Driver

Mark Malinowski
Bruce Driver. (Getty Images)

 

Status: NHL defenseman from 1983-1998 for New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers. President of the Devils Alumni Association. Part-owner/President/General manager of Twin Oaks Ice Rink in Morristown, NJ. Coach of the Morristown-Beard girls ice hockey team for sixteen seasons.

DOB: April 29, 1962 In: Etobicoke, Ontario

First Hockey Memory: “Probably learning to skate. I have an older brother (Gary) two years older and my father (Gord) played a little bit. We grew up in Toronto. My brother started playing and my dad was coaching and I wanted to get on the ice. I remember pushing a steel chair with full equipment on when I was three. By four I was on a team with my brother. I remember that first shift of that first game was pretty fearful. The ref picked me up and put me in the ice and I essentially stood there for two minutes. I remember in the team photo I looked like the team mascot [smiles].”

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Seinfeld’s ‘Puddy’ gifted awesome Devils mask, supports the team

Jared Clinton
(via DaveArt.com)

Be it George Costanza’s parents or the reviled neighbor, Newman, the cast of secondary characters on Seinfeld were sometimes the show stealers. And though there’s no replacement for Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer, one secondary character who was always a fan favorite was the mechanic-turned-salesman David Puddy, expertly portrayed by Patrick Warburton.

Puddy only appeared in 10 episodes of the show — it somehow feels like more — but he left a lasting mark on the series and, as far as sports go, on New Jersey Devils fans. As the main plotline of a 1995 episode titled ‘The Face Painter,’ Puddy took to a Devils playoff game against the New York Rangers with Jerry, Elaine and Kramer, only for Puddy to emerge from the bathroom pre-game with his face painted Devils green and red. Why, you ask? Because, as Puddy says, “Gotta support the team.”

The face-painted antics of Puddy, who was also sporting a Martin Brodeur jersey in the episode, landed him a spot this past season on Devils goaltender Scott Wedgewood’s mask. Mask artist David Gunnarsson, a fan of Seinfeld and the man behind Wedgewood’s lid, made a replica recently and shipped it off to Warburton. He was wowed by the gift from the DaveArt mask designer: Read more