In what are the biggest trades of the offseason so far, the New Jersey Devils have traded defenseman Adam Larsson to the Edmonton Oilers. In return, they have received the man who has often been Edmonton’s top point scorer, Taylor Hall. Then, to add to the madness, the Nashville Predators traded captain Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens for their scapegoat defenseman, P.K. Subban.
By all reports, both were straight one-for-one trades.
Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson
Hall, the first overall selection in 2010, has been Edmonton’s leading point scorer in three of his six seasons as an Oiler – being hampered by injury and being a rookie in the other three. Last season, Hall led his team with 26 goals and 65 points but this couldn’t help raise them up from the slumps of the league.
As it stands, the Edmonton Oilers still have their other three most recent first overall picks – Nail Yakupov, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid – but rumors are still flying around that Yakupov and Nugent-Hopkins may be on their way out.
According to Sportsnet, the trade means that Hall will reunite with Windsor Spitfire teammate Adam Henrique. In 2009 and 2010, the two helped the club to win the Memorial Cup.
If there’s one thing that’s certain, Edmonton has been very unbalanced in their drafting and haven’t taken full advantage of their incredibly high picks. It seems as though they’d forgotten about pulling in top rated defensemen – apart from with Darnell Nurse. So now they have to give up a very high rated player to make up for lost time.
Adam Larsson is one of the most promising young blueliners in the NHL and the trade will greatly enhance the Oilers defense corps. The 2011 fourth overall pick stands at 6’3’’, 205lbs and pulled in a whopping 77 penalty minutes last season – more than double that of the season before.
Larsson hasn’t been brought in for his scoring or playmaking – 69 points in 274 games – but rather for his defensive plays. The Swede’s coverage is strong, he’s got great vision and anticipation, and has become more and more physical with age.
The New Jersey Devils get the big win here. They may be losing a top young defenseman, but they’re gaining one of the best – still young – forwards in the league. With Taylor Hall being so prolific with the Oilers through their weak years, you can only imagine what might be unleashed at a playoff budding team like the Devils.
Edmonton is now making up for poor high drafting in past seasons, but have done well to bring in Adam Larsson. The defenseman will continue to develop alongside a team that includes future superstars by the likes of Connor McDavid, Cam Talbot, Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse.
Shea Weber for P.K. Subban
What! I mean, for real! This is such mega move of two mighty defensemen. The two NHL All-Stars were beloved by their fans and are moving to teams that had completely opposite seasons.
At 6’4’’ and 230lbs, Shea Weber is a giant on the ice. But he’s also a giant in the dressing room. Weber has been Nashville’s talisman since 2010 when, at the age of 24, he became Nashville’s youngest captain, and the first Nashville draftee to become captain.
The 49th overall pick in 2003 has been the core of Nashville’s defense for near a decade now, and to see him traded away is a major shock. He has 443 points in 763 games for the Preds but was also key to the team’s defensive phases.
Weber led his team to the second round of the Stanley Cup this season, helping them to improve on their first round exit the year before. With Nashville on the rise, you wouldn’t have expected them to suddenly ship off their main man.
Last season, the Montreal Canadiens were terrible – with just the Winter Classic win over Boston there to give their fans some joy. Number one goaltender Carey Price set the team on a massive winning streak to kick off the season, but then his knee injuries effectively ended their campaign.
The Canadiens coaching staff simply gave up without Price, they didn’t make any big trades or attempt to pull their team out of their Price-less slump. Instead, they turned to top scoring defenseman P.K. Subban to be their scapegoat. Now they’ve managed to pull off a stunning deal that has sent the one they blamed so often away.
P.K. Subban, who paid homage to Jaromir Jagr with his breakaway goal at the All-Star games this year, has been Montreal main blueline threat for many years now. Like Weber, the 27-year-old was drafted in the second round but has become one of the most infamous offensive-defensemen in the NHL.
Nashville’s defense has carried their offense for many seasons, until recently when they’ve started to go big on scoring forwards like Ryan Johansen, James Neal, and Filip Forsberg. P.K. Subban will be replacing Weber on the top line, and on the powerplay, having scored 12 more points than his predecessor in the last three seasons.
Shea Weber will bring the leadership needed to shake up the Montreal Canadiens, whilst the Predators get a solid replacement for their captain – points wise that is. They also get a top offensive defenseman who is three years younger than Weber, making their top four defensemen – Subban, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm – all 27-years-old or younger.
In terms of money, salary and cap hit, Spotrac record Weber costing the Canadiens $4 million in salary, $8 million in signing bonus – carried from his Nashville contract – and $7.857 million in cap hit, which is instated until the end of the 2017-18 season. Weber contract expires at the end of the 2025-26 season when he’ll be 40-years-old.
The same source pegs Subban to the Preds for $9 million salary, $2 million signing bonus – carried from his Habs deal – at a cap hit of $9 million. P.K.’s contract expires at the end of the 2021-22 season when he’ll be 32-years-old.
So you can see how, long-term at least, Nashville benefit from the Subban contract and aren’t going to be weighted down by Weber’s contract beyond his prime.
Nearing the eve of the NHL free agency, will there be more blockbuster trades to come in the NHL?