If you haven't been paying attention to the most recent NHL transactions, well I feel bad for you, but I also don't blame you. The Red Sox have been spiraling out of control and the Celtics have a legitimate shot at signing Kevin Durant, which was once thought to be a pipe dream. Lets go through all of the crazy NHL transactions that happened yesterday ahead of the July 1 Free Agency Frenzy.
1. Steven Stamkos Re-Signs With The Lightning
I want to say I am surprised and thought that he may sign with his native Toronto Maple Leafs or the Boston Bruins, but why the hell would he leave the Tampa Bay Lightning in all honesty? With Stamkos, the Lightning are a perennial Stanley Cup contender and one of the powerhouses in the NHL. In 2015, Stamkos was able to lead the Lightning to the Stanley Cup Finals, but came up just short to winning the Cup, losing to the Blackhawks in six games. Who's to say they cannot do that for the next couple of years with no clear-cut favorite?The Lightning confirmed the agreement, which is worth $68 million (U.S.), and spanning eight years, meaning the 26-year-old captain will earn an average of $8.5 million per season.
I think that Stamkos took less to stay with the Lightning, as many thought the Bruins or the Leafs could offer him upwards of $10 million per season. Nonetheless, I think long-term security was a major factor with Stamkos, who has had multiple relatively serious injuries, and, because the Lightning were his last team, they were able to offer him that extra year. However, like I said before, there was no reason for Stamkos to leave and I believe he made the right decision. This was the first shoe to drop, as other major moves followed.
2. P.K. Subban Traded To Nashville For Shea Weber
What. A. Trade. This is what makes the NHL so awesome. Do you think that this would happen in baseball? Bryce Harper for Mike Trout, straight up? Oh my God, I love it. But to the actual trade, this may be the worst Habs trade since they traded goalie Patrick Roy because he, shocker, got into a fight with a mediocre coach and Montreal ownership. Sound familiar? Flash forward to 2016, and the exact same thing happened. PK Subban is one of the best defensemen in the entire NHL, and he is only 27-years-old. I may be partial to Subban (Shameless Plug, please listen), but I think the Preds got away with highway robbery on this one.
Shea Weber is a stud in his own right, but he is 30-years-old and is closer to the back nine, if he isn't there already. How much better can Weber really get? Or, maybe the better question is, has Subban reached his full potential yet? Nashville is better equipped to make a Stanley Cup run now, and Weber has to deal with Canada. So, who is the real winner here?
3. Taylor Hall Traded To New Jersey
Ahhh. Our old friend Peter Chiarelli is at it again. The Oilers sent former No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall to New Jersey in exchange for 23-year-old Adam Larsson, the fourth overall pick of the 2011 draft. Does this seem oddly familiar? Well, it should. Chiarelli has now traded the top two picks in the 2010 draft, and they both may have been mistakes. Hall is one of the better young left wingers in the entire NHL, as the 24-year-old has produced 183 points over the past three seasons. Additionally, Hall has four years left on his current contract, where his average annual value is only $6 million.
At 23-years-old, Adam Larsson has already played 274 games in the NHL and has turned into a potential top defenseman on a legitimate team. Larsson had three goals and 15 assists, playing in all 82 games on the Devils' top defensive pairing last year. There is no doubt that the Oilers needed defensive help if they want to compete this season, but did they pay too steep of a price? With the open cap space, the Oilers are also expected to make a serious offer to former Bruin Milan Lucic
4. Bruins Buy Out The Contract Of Dennis Seidenberg, Extend Torey Krug
This probably isn't newsworthy in any other market, but we do cover the Bruins, so yeah. The Bruins decided to buy out the two remaining years of defenseman Dennis Seidenberg's contract, according to multiple reports. According to Fluto Shinzawa, Seidenberg was due $7 million in salary through 2018. He will be paid two-thirds of his remaining salary over the next four years, or twice the length of his existing deal. It is an expensive solution, and ideally Bruins GM Don Sweeney would have liked to trade him, but it is not crazy to think that Seidenberg did not have much of a market.
Last season, Seidenberg has one goal and 11 assists in 61 games, a steep decline from his past seven seasons with the Boston Bruins. Additionally, Seidenberg averaged 19:23 of ice time per game, his lowest workload in his career as a Bruin. It is tough to see Seidenberg go, but it was the right move by Sweeney and President Cam Neely, and definitely a step in the right direction towards better help defensively.
Goodbye, German Hammer.
With added cap room, the Bruins were also able to extend defenseman Torey Krug to a four-year, $5.25 AAV deal. The Bruins may have overextended themselves just a bit, but it isn't a massive overpayment. If Krug can get better, then this could turn into a great deal for the 25-year-old and the Bruins. Good deal.
For continuing NHL Free Agency news, check back in.