After a week of listening to different insiders around the NHL talk about how this was going to be one of the craziest weekends in recent memory, the hockey world was treated to one of the most boring draft days in recent memory.
Not seeing any player trades during the first round of the draft was extremely disappointing but, day two started off with a bang.
OILERS SNAG LAVOIE
With the 38th overall pick, the Oilers took 6’4 forward Raphael Lavoie and I am thrilled with this selection. The Oilers need scoring and Lavoie does exactly that. He scored 32 goals and 41 assists 62 games with the Halifax Mooseheads and had a dominant playoff run with 20 goals and 12 assists in just 23 games played.
There were some rumblings a few weeks ago that the Canadiens might consider him with the 15th overall pick and while it died down closer to the draft, it shows how much value the Oilers got with this selection.
He has some warts in his game, like every prospect taken outside of the top ten of the drafts, but his size will never change. I love the idea of his big body riding shotgun with one of the Oilers skilled centres in three or four years.
LEAFS SHED CAP SPACE
Young GM Kyle Dubas made the first move of the day, sending Patrick Marleau and a first round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a late-round pick. Marleau had one more year on his deal which carries a cap hit of $6.25 million.
Oilers fans should remember that when thinking about ways to get rid of Milan Lucic. Marleau is a better player, with far less term than Lucic and it still cost the Leafs a first round pick. Yes, the Leafs were incredibly desperate for cap space and had to pay a premium, but this cements the fact that the only way the Oilers are getting away from Milan Lucic is to take back an equally bad contract or buy him out.
Kyle Dubas then got right to work spending some of his new found cap space and has reportedly agreed to terms with Kasperi Kapanen on an extension that’s worth somewhere between $3.2 – $3.4 million.
That’s a player I wondered if the Oilers were going to try to squeeze out of Toronto. He scored 20 goals in 2018-19, which was his first full NHL season, and he clearly had some skill. He would have looked good in the Oilers top six.
If it wasn’t a lock already, this means that winger Connor Brown will no doubt be moved at some point in the next week. It’s been widely reported that the Oilers have interest in Brown and his $2.1 million cap hit.
There’s also Andreas Johnsson. The pending RFA scored 20 goals in his rookie season while riding shotgun with Auston Matthews. There’s no doubt the price would be much higher for him that it would be for someone like Connor Brown, but I think Johnsson would be dynamite in Edmonton.
The Oilers need scoring wingers and the Leafs have a couple of potential solutions for that problem.
SUBBAN LANDS IN NEW JERSEY
The biggest news of the day thus far was the Predators trading PK Subban to the New Jersey Devils for Steven Santini, Jeremy Davies, and two second-round picks.
It’s clear that the Devils got a good deal for Subban simply because they were willing to take on all $9 million of his cap hit.
Cap space is everything and considering how low the acquisition cost was, the Oilers should have been all over PK Subban. He’s a stud right-handed defenseman who moves the puck. There aren’t a lot of defensemen in the NHL who can do what Subban does. Ken Holland is simply taking over a team that doesn’t have enough cap space to go out and make big splashes like that. Credit to Ray Shero for weaponizing his wealth of cap space and using it to his advantage. The Devils are the clear winners of this weekend.
CANUCKS ADD MILLER
Jim Benning made a splash with the draft in his city and acquired JT Miller from the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Oilers were rumoured to be interested in Miller as well but the Canucks took all of Miller’s $5.25 million cap hit, which expires in four seasons, and that was probably the sticking point for the Lightning, who are desperate for cap space.
The price was a conditional first rounder, a third rounder, and an AHL goalie in Marek Mazanec. There are good players available on the trade market, and the prices seem pretty reasonable. The Oilers are simply handcuffed by the salary cap.
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