Hello, everyone. It’s Dan Mount again with another edition of the Three Periods blog. This week was one of the biggest in recent memory as the NHL Entry Draft wrapped up in over the weekend in Buffalo. However, that was put on the backburner after an epic 23 minutes on Wednesday that saw two blockbuster trades a big signing.
The fireworks come just in time for Canada Day and the Fourth of July weekend in North America.
However, that is just the beginning as the free agency period kicks off at noon on Friday. The big moves may have been made already, but there will still be some drama.
The first period will talk about the big day on Wednesday where the Edmonton Oilers sent Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for Adam Larrson and the re-signing of Steven Stamkos by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The second period deals with an even bigger trade as the Montreal Canadiens sent P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for team captain Shea Weber. The last period will give a recap of the draft.
Let’s get started with a very full Three Periods.
Usually the last couple of days before free agency are nothing but sifting through rumors and waiting to see who will go where. That silence was shattered around 4:30 p.m. Eastern time when the Oilers and Devils announced the trade of the young forward Hall for the steady Larsson.
Edmonton has been starving for defensive talent for years and general manager Peter Chiarelli pulled the trigger to get Larsson. (A guy the Oilers’ GM coveted years ago when Larsson was taken in the 2011 NHL draft.)
It filled a hole, but many are shocked that it was a straight swap. The Devils get a young and motivated offensive player that wants to prove his doubters wrong. Larsson is a solid defender, but he’s not the complete solution for an Oilers team desperate to get back into the playoffs. There’s no doubt that New Jersey GM Ray Shero got the better of this deal.
Right after that, news that Steven Stamkos would stay with Tampa Bay broke on the web. “Stammer” inked an eight-year, $68 million deal on Wednesday. General manager Steve Yzerman was able to lock up his star player on a long-term deal, and beat back the advances of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings.
Stamkos said staying with the Bolts gave him the best chance to win a Stanley Cup, and he’s got a good shot with the Ning. The team finished runners-up in 2015 and were a Game 7-win away from reaching the final again.
The blood clots are an issue, but the Markham, Ontario native should be ready to go for the drive to bring the Cup back to Florida for the first time since 2004.
However, the biggest news of the day was saved for last when the Habs parted with the dynamic Subban for the rugged Weber. The trade still has people in shock as the teams that parted with players that were arguably the faces of the franchise.
The two players are perennial Norris Trophy nominees (Subban won the award in the lockout-shortened 2014 season.) and pile up plenty of points from the blue line. The players are opposite in many ways, as P.K. is exciting and showy, while Shea has been described as a “John Wayne Type.”
Subban being traded puts an end to a contentious relationship with GM Marc Bergevin and coach Michel Therrien. Bergevin was fighting off rumors only a week ago and said that he was not shopping his playmaking rearguard, but Nashville general manager David Poile offered Weber and the rest is history.
The trade will be even for the first couple of years, but Nashville will win out in the end. Weber looked worn down near the end of series against the San Jose Sharks. Game 7 was arguably the worst game of this career.
Nashville is also getting a player that is four years younger in Subban. He is dynamic and can move the puck just as well as anyone else. There is concern about cap recapture, but the Predators have thrust themselves into the conversation for the Stanley Cup.
Last weekend was the NHL Entry Draft and three Canadian teams stick out. The Toronto Maple Leafs got their man in top pick Auston Matthew. He looks like he should be a top-two center for the team coming into his rookie season.
The Winnipeg Jets got the second-best player in the draft in Patrick Laine from Finland. He has all the tools to be a big-time player for the Jets. The third pick was a puzzling one as the Blue Jackets selected Pierre-Luc Dubois. He might be a fine player, but that opened the door for the Edmonton Oilers to get lucky again Jesse Puljujärvi fell to them.
The other great Finnish forward was supposed to be the third-best player in the draft, but Columbus GM Jarmo Kekäläinen shocked everyone by taking Dubois. This misstep could cost a lot if Puljujärvi turns out to be as good as adverstised.
Internet goodness: That rascally Roberto Luongo was at it again on Twitter. Free agent Frenzy started on Friday and the Florida Panthers goalie let everyone know what he thinks about certain deals.
“Strombone” suggested the website put an emoji (icon) of a guy putting trash in a can if there was a deal that the site didn’t like.
If you don’t follow him on Twitter, you need to.
That’s it for this week. I want to wish everyone a Happy Canada Day and a Happy Fourth of July weekend.
I also wanted to give a special salute to all of the brave men and women in both sets of armed
Thanks and have a happy and safe holiday weekend.
Dan Mount is a producer for Spadora on Sports. He’s also a writer for NHL on the Ice, the Nashville Predators beat reporter for The Hockey Writers and a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times in Watertown, NY. He can be found on Twitter @DanMountSports.