Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is very serious about changing things up in Toronto. Today the Leafs sent Kris Versteeg to Philadelphia for the Flyers 2011 first and third round picks.
Versteeg was acquired in the off-season by Burke after winning the Stanley Cup in Chicago last season in a salary cutting move by the Blackhawks. At 24 years-old, Versteeg now finds himself part of his fourth organization after starting out his career in the Boston Bruins system. Versteeg is a an ideal player on the third line as he can score you 20 goals a season and provide solid defensive responsibility. He was a key member of the Hawks Cup-winning team last year and providing that kind of support to the Flyers makes the East’s best team that much more dangerous.
The one problem the Flyers are going to have to face up to now is figuring out who in their current lineup loses out on playing time. The leading suspects right now would appear to be Nikolay Zherdev, Dan Carcillo, and Jody Shelley. Zherdev has been in and out of the Flyers lineup and while he’s been a solid offensive producer scoring 15 goals and adding four assists, he’s found himself benched in favor of Carcillo on occasion.
Carcillo adds a tenacious role to the Flyers offense but his penchant for taking bad penalties and mixing it up seemingly needlessly distracts the Flyers from what they’re looking to do on occasion. Shelley’s role as team enforcer might be the one thing that helps him keep a spot in the lineup on occasion, but if the Flyers are looking for better and more consistent production as well as more minutes from a forward, then Shelley figures to be the odd man out.
With that many questions floating around, it seems likely that Flyers GM Paul Holmgren will be making another move in the future to help free things up for one of those players. If there’s a guy that could be moved easier out of that bunch it’s Zherdev as he’s on a one-year contract and a team looking for an offensive boost could look to him as an inexpensive piece to add.
For Toronto, it seems odd to move a player as young as Versteeg in order to acquire picks but if Burke is looking to improve the organization through the draft it’s an even more bizarre play. The chances of Burke assembling late-round first round picks in order to use them as a chip to acquire a top name forward or a higher first round draft pick would seem to be a more likely scenario. With Burke though, you just never really know.
For now, this deal is all about Philadelphia improving that much more by adding another potentially dangerous forward.
Will the New Jersey Devils select Nico Hischier or Nolan Patrick with the first overall pick? Could another team swoop in and trade for a high choice, whether it be from the Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, or someone else?
On a day of huge, often shocking trades, the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft still has potential to bring more twists and turns.
You can watch another important night in the NHL unfold on NBCSN beginning at 7 p.m. ET on Friday.
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Also, check out PHT’s draft tracker here. Note the current order of selections below.
From the United Center in Chicago, it’s the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft!
Click back here throughout the night for all the latest picks, complete with draft profiles, stories and video from tonight’s broadcast on NBCSN.
1. New Jersey Devils
2. Philadelphia Flyers
3. Dallas Stars
4. Colorado Avalanche
5. Vancouver Canucks
6. Vegas Golden Knights
7. New York Rangers (from Arizona)
8. Buffalo Sabres
9. Detroit Red Wings
10. Florida Panthers
11. Los Angeles Kings
12. Carolina Hurricanes
13. Vegas Golden Knights (from Winnipeg)
14. Tampa Bay Lightning
15. Vegas Golden Knights (from NY Islanders)
16. Calgary Flames
17. Toronto Maple Leafs
18. Boston Bruins
19. San Jose Sharks
20. St. Louis Blues
21. New York Rangers
22. Edmonton Oilers
23. Arizona Coyotes (from Minnesota)
24. Winnipeg Jets (from Columbus via Vegas)
25. Montreal Canadiens
26. Chicago Blackhawks
27. St. Louis Blues (from Washington)
28. Ottawa Senators
29. Dallas Stars (from Anaheim)
30. Nashville Predators
31. Pittsburgh Penguins
T.J. Oshie will be staying with the Washington Capitals for a very, very long time.
The team announced on Friday evening that it has signed the veteran forward to an eight-year contract that will pay him an average annual salary of $5.75 million.
That comes out to a total dollar amount of $46 million.
“T.J. is an invaluable member of our team and we felt it was imperative for us to re-sign him in a competitive free agent market,” general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement released by the team. “T.J. is a highly competitive player with a tremendous skill set; he epitomizes the kind of player our team must have in order for us to continue to put ourselves in a position to compete in this League.”
Oshie is coming off of a career year for the Capitals that saw him score 33 goals to go with 28 assists in only 68 games.
While the team is almost certainly ecstatic to bring him back (and better off in the short-term), that eight-year commitment could be a risky one long-term. While Oshie is still a top-line player and was one of the most productive forwards in the league this past season, he is also already 30 years old. Giving that much term to a player that has already celebrated his 30th birthday usually ends up becoming an issue before the contract expires. But that is still pretty far down the road, and the Capitals are a better team in the short-term with him back in the mix. If he proves to be an essential ingredient in maybe bringing a Stanley Cup to Washington, they certainly won’t complain about maybe having to deal with a bad contract in five or six years.
In two years with the Capitals he has 59 goals and 48 assists (107 points) in 148 games.
His re-signing with the Capitals also puts a pretty significant dent in the upcoming free agent class as Oshie was looking to be one of the most sought after players on the open market.
On Friday, shortly after the Blackhawks overhauled their roster, there was speculation they might make a run at him as a potential Artemi Panarin replacement. Obviously, they will have to now look elsewhere. With Oshie no longer available the biggest names that could be available would be Alexander Radulov (assuming he and the Montreal Canadiens can not come to terms) or Ilya Kovalchuk (if he makes a return to the NHL).
CHICAGO — If it wasn’t clear that Andrew Barroway is running the show in Arizona, it sure is now.
Since Barroway bought out his minority partners earlier this month, the Coyotes have cut ties with captain Shane Doan, traded goalie Mike Smith, and parted ways with head coach Dave Tippett.
That is no coincidence. Doan, Smith, and Tippett were the old guard, and Barroway wants to chart a new path.
For the breakup with Tippett, Barroway cited “philosophical differences on how to build” the team.
“I mean, he’s 100 percent owner,” GM John Chayka said Friday before the NHL Entry Draft. “Usually those guys do have some influence. … I think he’s trying to do what’s right for the organization moving forward. He wants to help find us an arena and keep us (in Arizona) long term. He wants to help us build a team. He’s invested emotionally, financially, everything. I respect that about him.”
Read more: ‘It was the owner’s decision’
But the shakeup hasn’t been easy on Chayka, who now has to find a new head coach, in addition to everything else on his plate.
“I’m 24 hours past Dave Tippett, and he’s a tough guy to get over,” said Chayka. “I’m focused on picking the best player tonight, then going from there.”
The Coyotes have the 23rd overall pick tonight. That was the selection they got from Minnesota in the Martin Hanzal trade. Arizona’s pick, the seventh overall selection, went to the Rangers in today’s Derek Stepan trade.
Hectic times for the Desert Dogs.
Related: Coyotes acquire Niklas Hjalmarsson from Chicago