Owing to server issues, I was unable to post up my analysis of some of the notable trades which occurred on the opening day of the NHL draft. You can read my take of each one below:
Avalanche Trade O’Reilly to Sabres in Multi-player Deal.
The Colorado Avalanche trade center Ryan O’Reilly and winger Jamie McGinn to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for defenseman Nikita Zadorov, center Mikhail Grigorenko, J.T. Compher and the 31st overall pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And with that, O’Reilly’s long, contentious contract negotiations with the Avalanche are over. It’ll be interesting to see how those talks go with the Sabres, but they certainly have the cap space and the willingness to spend it, picking up his $6 million cap hit for 2015-16 and giving them a year to negotiate a new deal.
O’Reilly is a terrific acquisition for the Sabres, bringing disciplined two-way play to their second line, assuming he skates behind second overall pick Jack Eichel. It’ll be all the better if they can re-sign him, though that could cost over $7 million annually. McGinn is a decent depth forward who will also bring some experience to the rebuilding Sabres.
As for the Avs, they simply couldn’t afford to re-sign O’Reilly beyond 2015-16. Not when top center Matt Duchene is earning $6 million annually. It likely would’ve cost the Avs over $7 million annually to retain O’Reilly. They’re taking back two promising young players in Zadorov and Grigorenko, though it remains to be seen how much of an immediate impact they’ll have with the Avs next season. Zadorov should fit in on their second or third defense pairing. Grigorenko will hope for a fresh start in Colorado playing for his former junior coach Patrick Roy.
Ultimately, this deal benefits the Sabres immediately, and has the potential to boost the Avs in the long term.
Bruins Ship Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings
The Boston Bruins trade left wing Milan Lucic to the Los Angles King in exchange for goaltender Martin Jones, the 13th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and prospect Colin Miller.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Say this for new Bruins GM Don Sweeney, he’s already mastered the art of saying one thing to the press while doing the exact opposite regarding trades. After claiming Lucic (like now-former Bruin Dougie Hamilton) was a valuable part of the Bruins’ corp, he shipped the 27-year-old away to the Kings.
Lucic struggled last season, but he’s still highly regarded as a power forward. He should be a good fit on their scoring lines next season. However, he only has a year left on his contract, which could get interesting when one considers Anze Kopitar will also be a pending UFA and up for a big raise. Lucic could turn into a one-year acquisition unless the Kings ship out another high-salaried player.
The Bruins are also picking up $2.75 million of Lucic’s $6 million cap hit for 2015-16 so as to make it easier for the cap-strapped Kings. Even so, the Kings still have to shed some salary, especially after re-signing Tyler Toffoli to a two-year deal worth $3.3 million annually. The most likely move is a buyout of Mike Richards.
Sweeney collected the 13th, 14th and 15th overall picks in this draft, used to select defenseman Jakub Zboril, left wing Jake DeBrusk and right wing Zach Senyshyn. He also gets a solid backup goalie in Jones, though he’ll likely only have him for a short period. Jones aspires to be a starter, but the Bruins already have 2014 Vezina Winner Tuukka Rask locked up long-term. Unless they pull a swerve and ship out Rask, Jones or possible Malcolm Subban could be on the move within a year.
Ducks trade Kyle Palmieri to the Devils.
The Anaheim Ducks traded forward Kyle Palmieri to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for the 41st pick in the 2015 draft and a selection in 2016.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Palmieri, 24, is a versatile energetic winger with some offensive upside. He’s also got an injury history but if he can stay healthy he’ll be an effective checking-line winger for the Devils. He’s also an affordable acquisition for the Devils, earning $1.466 million cap hit for next season. The Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens claims the Ducks made this move to free up some cap space for next year’s free agent signings.