SUNRISE, Fla. – There probably hasn’t been an NHL player involved in more trade rumors than Ryan O’Reilly has been for the past couple of years. So the fact that it finally happened on draft day shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
O’Reilly is a guy the Colorado Avalanche loved. On the ice. When it came to crossing swords with him over a contract, that’s an entirely different story. And like the Boston Bruins did with Dougie Hamilton, the Avalanche did not relish the idea of going through a difficult negotiation that might go sideways, so they dealt him.
The Boston Bruins continue to make wild headlines in the hours approaching the 2015 draft. First, GM Don Sweeney shipped defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames in what has already become a maligned deal, at least based on the venomous social media response. Next up: power forward Milan Lucic.
As reported by Lisa Dillman and Elliotte Friedman, Boston has traded Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings for the 13th overall pick in the draft, goaltender Martin Jones and prospect defenseman Colin Miller.
SUNRISE, Fla. – Well here we are still hours before the NHL draft and already THN senior editor Brian Costello has already won Twitter today. After the Calgary Flames-Boston Bruins blockbuster, Costello took to social media to point out that according to our Draft Preview, the Bruins had traded Dougie Hamilton in exchange for Nick Merkley, Dennis Yan and Graham Knott.
Those are the three players we have ranked No. 15, 54 and 53 respectively. It almost certainly won’t turn out that way, but you get the idea. Now get this idea. Over the course of 24 hours, the Bruins traded a 50-point scorer and an elite defenseman in exchange for a package that could amount to nothing.
We don’t vote on our GM of the year at The Hockey News until after the season and Calgary GM Brad Treliving just put his name high on the candidate list by grabbing Dougie Hamilton from Boston for a first-rounder and two second round picks.
For a team just a few years removed from a Stanley Cup and really only one season removed from being a titan in the Eastern Conference, there sure is a lot of chaos surrounding the Boston Bruins right now.
Two signings, two centers, two Central Division teams, two very different meanings.
Unrestricted free agent to-be Mike Fisher, 35, will return to the Nashville Predators. Fisher signed a two-year, $8.8-million deal. Is $4.4 million per year a bit much for a 35-year-old veteran who has never topped 25 goals or 53 points? Maybe, but it was a matter of Nashville’s needs. General manager David Poile couldn’t risk losing one of his top two centers, especially with UFA Mike Ribeiro’s status up in the air. Fisher loves Nashville, Nashville loves Fisher, and his country star wife Carrie Underwood is based there. The two-year term makes the meaty cap hit palatable, too.
Colorado’s signing of Carl Soderberg, who turns 30 Oct. 12, is much more eyebrow-raising. The Avalanche acquired the 6-foot-3, 216-pound pivot’s rights from the Boston Bruins Thursday and locked him up to a five-year, $23.75-million contract. So whereas the Preds will play $4.4 million for a sure thing, if an unexciting one, the Avs bet big on the unproven Soderberg for $4.75 million a year.
Every time we blink, Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray pulls off another wise move.
A day after he locked up restricted free agents Mark Stone and Mika Zibanejad to highly reasonable deals, Murray delivered on his promise to trade a goaltender. Ottawa has shipped Robin Lehner and center David Legwand to the Buffalo Sabres for the 21st overall pick in tonight’s NHL draft.
The move is an obvious win for Ottawa. We knew it needed to lose a goaltender after re-signing Andrew Hammond and shoring up the future with NCAA keeper Matt O’Connor. We knew one of Lehner and Craig Anderson was as good as gone, and we also knew Buffalo was the ideal trading partner. Sabres GM Tim Murray is Bryan’s nephew and the Sens’ former assistant GM, so he knows Ottawa’s players well, and the Sabres desperately needed a goalie. The Sens also shed the dead-weight contract of Legwand, 34, who carries a $3-million cap hit one more year. So Ottawa can roll with Anderson and Hammond as a tandem, it will retain all its key young free agents, it has freed up a few more million in spending money and it picks twice in the first round tonight? My goodness. Murray is on fire.
FORT LAUDERDALE – We know a few things when it comes to the prospects of Phil Kessel being traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs. First, the Leafs have already told their core players there are going to be changes. Second, the Leafs are actively speaking with teams about the possibility. Third, there appears to be a lot of interest in acquiring him. Fourth, the chances of him reporting to training camp as a member of the Maple Leafs are growing slimmer by the day.
Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan did not come out and say Kessel would be dealt, but spoke volumes when he said, “Anything is possible.” To these eyes anyway, it just does not look as though Kessel has any long-term future in Toronto. So does Shanahan see any scenario where Kessel actually remains a Maple Leaf?