The NHL offseason got underway in a big way on Wednesday with the expansion draft and then Friday with the Entry draft. To add onto that, the league saw many trades go down in the last week and many of them were rather huge and important to the future of some teams. Below, I recap some of the big moves from the last two days and declare the team that I feel won the deal.
Islanders, Oilers swap forwards
The Oilers had been looking to deal the 27-year old former first round pick for quite some time. I personally think Eberle is worth a lot more than just one player. I think because the Oilers wanted to move him for so long they ultimately settled on this trade. Make no mistake, Ryan Strome is a good young player and I think he’ll come into his own playing on a team with current MVP Connor McDavid. Best case scenario, this is a win-win for both the Oilers and Islanders.
Winner: If I had to choose I’d say the Islanders but it’s close.
Schlemko to Habs
(Schlemko for 2019 5th-rounder)
A long-time member of Phoenix and later Arizona Coyotes, Schlemko is a very solid player and gives the Canadiens a mobile defenseman that should play well under Claude Julien. Schlemko was initially chosen by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft from the San Jose Sharks but was soon flipped for a draft pick to Montreal.
Coyotes add Hjalmarsson
With Hjalmarsson being a free agent in two years, the Blackhawks didn’t think they’d be able to resign him. The 30-year old has proved himself worthy as a top four defenseman who plays very solid defense. The Hawks likely won’t be losing too much as they acquired Connor Murphy in exchange. Murphy is a similar player and six years younger. To me the Hawks won this deal rather easily.
Hawks reacquire Saad
Obviously there are some add-ons in this deal but this is essentially a one for one swap. Panarin is in the same boat as Hjalmarsson, being a free agent in two years. The “Bread Man” has been better than advertised the last two years in Chicago with back-to-back 30 goal seasons. The player coming to Chicago is a very familiar one, Brandon Saad. An integral part of the Hawks 2013 and 2015 Stanley Cup titles, Saad is a very proven commodity and should have no problem assimilating himself back into the Blackhawks lineup. I would also call this deal a win-win for both teams.
Winner: Too close to call but I’d give a slight edge to Columbus as Panarin is the younger, more talented player.
Rangers sell off key contributors
With this deal, the Rangers are swimming in cap space as they look to sign former Blues and Capitals defenseman, Kevin Shattenkirk. Stepan has been a big contributor to the Rangers in past years but his large contract was an issue, Raanta has been the Blueshirts backup the last couple seasons but the Rangers have two goalies already in their farm system. Arizona gave up two rather big pieces in Anthony Deangelo and the seventh overall pick but get some solid players in return. This is a close call but I’ll give the edge to the Rangers.
Flyers ship Schenn to Blues
The Blues get one of the most underrated young players in the game in Schenn but part with a solid contributor in Lehtera and their number one draft pick. Schenn had a very good year in Philly and should have no trouble fitting in in St.Louis. Lehtera is a solid player but needs a lot of offense around him to be successful. Yes the Flyers have Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmons but not much else. I’m not sure I like this deal for them, St.Louis definitely won this one.
Pens trade for Reaves
I debated whether to include this trade but I really like this one for the Penguins. Reaves is a big boy who plays with tremendous edge and should give Pittsburgh some added muscle. St.Louis shouldn’t be too sad to see Reaves go as they got an early second-round pick.
Flames get Hamonic
The Isles certainly got a lot back and should help them in the long run if John Taveras chooses to walk next summer. However, losing a big time player like Hamonic does hurt. An already strong Calgary defense group gets even stronger and this team should be one to watch this season as they have the tools to make a deep playoff run. Definitely a win here for the Flames.