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Draft Diaries: We got big news on day two in Nashville

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Tyler Yaremchuk
9 months ago
Day two of NHL Draft Week in Nashville brought us some news! Sadly, the Oilers weren’t involved in any of it, but their division is starting to look a lot different.
The LA Kings made the biggest splash of the day, acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois in a sign and trade with the Winnipeg Jets. The Kings, who have been eliminated by the Oilers in back-to-back postseasons in case you forgot, are bolstering their centre depth but they’re paying quite the price to do it.
Gabe Vilardi is a player who I think can be a perennial 30-goal scorer. Rasmus Kupari could be a solid middle-six forward. Alex Iaffalo is a solid 20-goal scorer as well. I think the Jets got a very nice return considering Dubois basically forced their hand and could also control his own destination.
Does this move make the Kings better? It might. My co-host on Oilersnation Everyday, Jason Gregor, made a fantastic point though: the reason the Kings lost to the Oilers was not their third line.
Dubois is a really good player, but he doesn’t make them better than the Edmonton Oilers. They need to get a better goalie and I’m surprised they committed $8.5 million to Dubois without first sorting out their situation between the pipes.
The other big move involved the Blues and Flyers and I love what St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong did here. They got Kevin Hayes at 50% retained which he’s only a $3.57 million cap hit for the next three seasons and they only had to give up a 6th-round pick.
Hayes was grossly overpaid at $7.25 million, but he still put up 54 points last season. I’m really surprised that there wasn’t a better market considering the Flyers were willing to eat half of his contract. To me, that should have made him a much more attractive piece for teams like Colorado and Boston, both of which need to add more centre depth.
Originally, I liked the move that the Avs made over the weekend, scooping up Ryan Johansen for nothing but now I’m sitting here wondering why they didn’t just go grab Hayes for a smaller cap hit. He’d be a better fit on that team considering how he can impact different areas of the game.
Avalanche GM Chris McFarland did make another move today though, acquiring picks #31 and #37 from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for 2019 first-round pick Alex Newhook. Newhook projects to be a solid middle-six centreman and I don’t mind the addition for the Habs, I just think they may have paid a little bit too much.
Montreal has a very interesting core of young players forming and I think their rebuild could actually end up being a lot shorter than they initially thought. They need to find their goalie of the future though.

WHAT’S NEXT

Nov 18, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler (26) tries to screen Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Well, this is where the Oilers could potentially get involved. Darren Dreger is reporting that the Jets could be preparing to buy out Blake Wheeler, who’s in the final year of his deal. That would make the 36-year-old an unrestricted free agent and I could see the Oilers checking in on that.
He’s not the player he once was and he hasn’t hit the 20-goal mark in three straight seasons. There are also some locker room concerns around Wheeler and there was always talk that there were issues back when Evander Kane was in that Jets lockerroom. 
On the ice, it might make sense as a buy-low candidate. If you threw him next to McDavid or Draisaitl, Wheeler could probably pop home 20+ goals. I’m not sure if it’s worth the potential off-ice risks though.

AWARDS RECAP

Here is my rapid-fire review of attending the NHL Awards in person:
  • The show could very easily be 90 minutes and it would be much better if it was. Cut the number of musical acts down and speed up the presenting process. 
  • Jay and I sat in the row behind Connor Bedard and every time he walked by us, Jay was in awe of his quads. They’re huge!
  • Some people say the awards don’t matter, but I was sitting next to some people who were close to Mikael Backlund and one was in tears when he was announced as the Flames forward was announced as the winner of the King Clancy Award. It was cool to see how much it meant to them.
  • How did someone put McDavid fifth on their Hart Trophy ballot? It feels like an attempt to just get some attention because it makes no sense.
  • I kind of thought Beniers would win the Calder but I was surprised that the gap between him and Skinner was as big as it was.
  • My favourite part of the night: the official NHL after-party. Enough said.
We’ll chat again after day three!

THE NATION NETWORK DRAFT COVERAGE

Stay tuned to the website, social media, and our YouTube page for extensive coverage of the NHL Entry Draft. From instance analysis from Nashville to quick updates from the event, we’ll have you covered on all things draft all week long.

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