The first dominos of the trade market fell on Thursday afternoon, with a trio of trades being completed.
The first was Jordan Eberle to New York for Ryan Strome. The second and third were both Vegas dealing defensemen to the Eastern Conference, as Trevor van Riemsdyk and David Schlemko went to Carolina and Montreal respectively.
My initial reaction to these deals is mixed. But, we’ll take it one by one.
For the Oilers and Islanders, the logic behind the deal is obvious. Edmonton wanted to shed salary either for free agency or to re-sign Kris Russell. Trading Eberle for Strome saves them $3.5 million on the cap for next season.
As for the Islanders, this is a win-now move. Strome is under a .50 points-per-game pace for his career. Eberle, on the contrary, is nearly at .75 points-per-game for his career. Eberle and Tavares also go back almost a decade in terms of their relationship. Both player for Team Canada’s World Juniors team in the late 2000s.
The logic behind the deal is evident, but the Islanders are the winners on the surface. They are getting the more established and more consistent player. However, what the Oilers will do with the added cap space remains to be seen.
As for the van Riemsdyk to Carolina trade, it seems fair for both sides. van Riemsdyk will get a chance to thrive in a larger role in Carolina, whereas Vegas gets a second round pick back for someone that they acquired for nothing.
The deal just further exemplifies how many draft picks Vegas is stockpiling. In the first two rounds this year, they now have three first round picks and three second round picks. It is quite the head start for the league’s 31st franchise.
Lastly, the Schlemko deal is a great one for Montreal. Giving up just a fifth round pick for him is a steal.
Schlemko has three more years left on his deal at $2.1 million per. He is a fantastic skater, and, in fact, his skating is what made him so successful in San Jose last season.
Schlemko will be able to slot in anywhere between the #4 and #6 role in Montreal. He is able to play in all situations and would be a nice replacement (in a sense) for when Andrei Markov departs.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Expect many more moves to come in the next few days.
The Hurricanes are in a relatively good position in regards to the expansion draft. Many of their young players, including Aho, Slavin, Hanifin, and Pesce, are exempt from being selected. However, on the down side, they do not have many players that meet the exposure requirements and that may affect their protection list in a negative way.
Up front, there are five players that will undoubtedly be protected. They are Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, Teuvo Teravainen, Victor Rask, and Elias Lindholm.
For this projection, the last two players filling up the protection list for forwards will be Phillip Di Giuseppe and Brock McGinn. The two main players being exposed, Joakim Nordstrom and Lee Stempniak, are the only other two players on Carolina’s roster that will fulfill the forward exposure requirement.
However, it is entirely possible that Carolina could trade for a forward that another team could not protect. In all likelihood, this would bump Brock McGinn out of a spot.
On defense, the scenario is the same. The Hurricanes have two spots that could go to outside players if they choose to make a trade.
The only defenseman currently worth keeping that could be selected by Vegas is Justin Faulk.
Klas Dahlbeck needs to be exposed to fulfill the defensive exposure requirement.
After those two players, only two defensemen eligible to be selected on Carolina’s roster are not unrestricted free agents, those being Ryan Murphy and Trevor Carrick. Neither are ideal protection candidates, but as of now the Hurricanes do not have any other choice.
To add to the oddity of the situation, Murphy has been in trade rumors for quite some time now. It is unlikely that he will be with Carolina at the start of next season.
Scott Darling, who recently signed a four year deal with Carolina after being traded, will be protected in goal.
The Hurricanes current protection list could look like this:
Forwards: Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask, Jordan Staal, Elias Lindholm, Teuvo Teravainen, Brock McGinn, Phillip Di Giuseppe
Defense: Justin Faulk, Trevor Carrick, Ryan Murphy
Goalie: Scott Darling
The Hurricanes protection list could change a lot over the next few weeks. Ron Francis has a huge opportunity here to make a splash and acquire a talented player or two that would have otherwise been exposed by another team.
Next team: Chicago Blackhawks
Not much has been going right for the Colorado Avalanche this season, however they do have the chance to do now what other teams sometimes dream of: start over.