Blockbuster: Boston sends Seguin, Peverley to Dallas for Eriksson, prospects

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Apparently those Tyler Seguin trade rumors at the NHL Entry Draft were more than just talk.

The Boston Bruins have sent Seguin, Rich Peverley and minor-leaguer Ryan Button to Dallas in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Joe Morrow (a key return from the Brenden Morrow trade), 2009 third-rounder Reilly Smith and 23-year-old winger Matt Fraser.

The biggest storyline is Boston moving Seguin, the former No. 2 overall pick and key acquisition from the highly-publicized Phil Kessel trade.

While the return for Seguin is significant, Boston trading away its leading scorer from two years ago is a major gamble.

Seguin, who turned 21 in January, has superstar-level talent. That said, Boston GM Peter Chiarelli recently expressed concern about Seguin’s maturity level and ability to grow as a player.

“He’s got to commit his mind and focus to the one task at hand,” Chiarelli said, per the Boston Globe. “He’s got to become more of a professional. You know what? I can say that about a lot of 21-year-olds. I know he got criticized for playing on the periphery and all that stuff. He did.

“He’s got to commit to being a professional and focusing on the game. Simple as that.”

This came after Seguin slogged through a disappointing playoff, scoring just one goal in 22 games while being reduced to third-line duty.

Peverley, meanwhile, had a tough 2013 campaign, scoring just 18 points in 47 games while boasting an ugly minus-9 rating. His ice time went down to 15:15 per night and he had just two points in 21 playoff games.

CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty confirmed Peverley waived his no-trade clause to join the Stars.

Peverley had been a solid contributor for Boston prior to the lockout-shortened season. He scored 12 points during the ’11 Cup run and averaged over 21 minutes per game in Boston’s first-round loss to Washington in 2011-12.

As for Dallas, this marks the first bold, signature move from general manager Jim Nill.

“Tyler is a dynamic player that will be a part of our core group for a long time to come,” Nill said in a statement.  “A player at his age, position and talent level are extremely difficult to acquire and we’re thrilled to bring him into our organization.”

While there is a history between Boston and Dallas from the Jaromir Jagr deal, that move was orchestrated by ex-Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. Nill’s only other significant transaction thus far was acquiring defenseman Sergei Gonchar from Ottawa, then inking him to a two-year, $10 million deal.

It’s likely that Seguin’s and Peverley’s former Bruins teammate, Mark Recchi, had a role in this deal — he was hired as one of Dallas’ front-office advisors in mid-January.

In Eriksson, Boston gets an elite winger who shoots left, but can play both sides.

He scored at least 70 points in each of his last three full seasons (2009-12), made the 2011 NHL All-Star Game and scored 29 points in 48 games last year.

Eriksson, 27, has spent his entire seven-year career in Dallas and served as one of the Stars’ alternate captains. He has waived his no-trade clause to accept the move to Boston, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

Important to note Eriksson has three years remaining on his six-year, $25.5 million deal, and his average annual cap hit — $4.25 million — is significantly less than Seguin’s $5.75 million, which kicks in next season.

Regarding the other pieces Boston acquired:

— Morrow, 20, was Pittsburgh’s first-round pick (23rd overall) at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He split last season between AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Texas, and tied for the Stars’ team goalscoring lead in the playoffs.

— Smith, 22, scored nine points in 37 games for Dallas last year, and 35 points in 45 games for AHL Texas.

— Fraser appeared in 12 games for Dallas last year, but did finish second in the AHL in goals last year, with 33.

Kraft Hockeyville: Blues beat Penguins in tune-up for season-opener

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Much like Sunday night, the St. Louis Blues will visit the Pittsburgh Penguins for a game in Pennsylvania on Oct. 4. With that in mind, the more heated moments from tonight’s Kraft Hockeyville preseason match might be fresh on the minds of both teams when the games start to count.

In this case, the Blues carried the play from a variety of perspectives, including the final score of 4-1.

The Penguins got the first goal when Jake Guentzel finished a nice one-timer sequence set by Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary, yet St. Louis was able to leverage its possession advantages to goals that beat Matt Murray up high.

The first one came from a familiar face in Vladimir Tarasenko, who aims for a Maurice Richard Trophy in 2017-18.

The game-winner was from 19-year-old Jordan Kyrou:

Paul Stastny then iced the game with a 3-1 empty-netter with a little less than 30 seconds remaining. Dmitrij Jaskin then made it 4-1 with a nice, patient score with Murray sprawling on the ice.

Carter Hutton deserves credit for a sharp win, but the final score didn’t do Murray’s alert evening justice, as the Blues fired 45 shots on him. This was probably the save of the contest:

While the Blues and Penguins wanted to be alert in this one, the stuff they might remember came down to rougher moments. Things started to escalate when Crosby mixed it up with Alex Pietrangelo.

As a preseason contest, some of this will likely be forgotten by veteran Penguins and Blues, but the people of Cranberry, Pa. and Belle Vernon, Pa. won’t soon forget the Kraft Hockeyville experience.

WATCH LIVE: Kraft Hockeyville featuring Penguins vs. Blues

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The Pittsburgh Penguins are set to host the St. Louis Blues to celebrate the latest edition of Kraft Hockeyville USA, with the game beginning at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

You can watch it online and via the NBC Sports App.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Find out more about Kraft Hockeyville winner Belle Vernon, Pa. in the video above this post’s headline (and also in this post). The game itself is taking place at UPMC Lemieux Sports complex in Cranberry, Pa.

NHL.com captures some of the spectacle, as about 2,000 fans showed up and players signed autographs during what sounded like a very fun event.

Speaking of very fun, all signs point to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin being among those players suiting up for the game itself.

Predators marvel at Fiala’s ‘beautiful’ work in preseason win

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Confession: It was difficult to shake the memory of Kevin Fiala‘s frightening injury from the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. If you need a reminder of the scary moment that ended what seemed like a breakthrough run, the video can be seen above this headline.

Another confession: personally, there’s been some concern about how well Fiala can bounce back, at least early on. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the young forward is his blazing speed; what if that’s been taken away from him?

Now, scoring two goals in the Nashville Predators’ 5-3 preseason win against the Columbus Blue Jackets doesn’t mean Fiala will avoid missing a beat in 2017-18.

Forgive Predators fans for getting excited, anyway, especially with goals like these.

Wow.

Filip Forsberg got borderline-romantic about what Fiala did on Sunday, and again, can you really blame him?

Again, the true tests for both Fiala and the Predators begin in October. Still, it’s better to look impressive at this time of the year instead of to go in slow (or injured, as the unlucky St. Louis Blues seem to be doing).

Gaudreau, other NHL players approve of crackdown on slashing

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When slash after slash broke one of Johnny Gaudreau‘s fingers, he called it part of the game.

The Calgary Flames winger known as “Johnny Hockey” is one of the NHL’s most marketable players, so broken bones should be a problem.

Slashing has become such a regular element in NHL games that it necessitated 791 minor penalties last season with countless more going uncalled. Gaudreau’s broken finger and Marc Methot‘s lacerated pinkie brought enough attention to the issue that the league is taking a stronger stand on flagrant slashing this year to cut down on injuries and obstruction.

“I think it’s tough for the refs to make those calls in games: You don’t really know how bad a slash is,” said Gaudreau, who sat out two and a half weeks after surgery to repair a fractured finger on his left hand. “But if they can harp down or look at it a little more closely, I think it might cause a little less injuries. Guys won’t be missing substantial time. I think it’d be huge.”

It was impossible to ignore slashing when Sidney Crosby sliced Methot’s finger open during a game in March, forcing the defenseman to miss three weeks. No penalty was called, and Crosby didn’t receive any supplemental discipline.

After members of the league’s competition committee recommended a closer look at slashing, officials have been instructed that it’s OK to call it more this season. NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom said the rise in slashing over the past decade came about after the stricter enforcement of hooking and holding following the 2004-05 lockout with players finding new tactics to slow the game down.

“Players started slashing in between the hands and on the hands, and the whacking became hacking became something that became the norm in the game,” Walkom said. “It’s time to have a stronger enforcement to let the players know what they can and can’t do. If you’re going to be whacking a player’s hands six, eight feet from the puck, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be penalized if it’s seen by the officials on the ice.”

So many slashing penalties were called in the first few preseason games that it was somewhat comical. Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere understands slashing but said he doesn’t know if it should be a penalty when no one knows why the whistle was blown.

Walkom sent a note reminding referees that the intent was to focus on slashes around the hands, not every time a player’s stick hits an opponent in the heavily-padded pants. Slashing at players’ hands will not only be an area of emphasis on the ice but also from the league office where new vice president of player safety George Parros is watching closely.

The former enforcer said slashes delivered with greater force or directed at players’ fingers will be met with fines and/or suspensions.

“We’re going to try and change player behavior,” Parros said. “We’re certainly trying to get rid of a pattern of a certain type of slash. If that’s like a harder slash on the fingertips as opposed to maybe in the elbow pad or something, that might be something we look at. And if it’s a pattern of a certain type of location slash or if it’s a pattern of a player, we’re going to look to eliminate both of those.”

Reducing unnecessary injuries is just one piece of this tighter enforcement. As with the crackdown on the hooking, holding and interference that mucked games up in the late 1990s and early 2000s, fewer slashes should open the ice up for offensive players at even-strength and potentially lead to more power plays.

“In some ways it’s going to put even bigger premium on getting body position and not being stuck in a position where you have to reach for a guy,” Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner said. “Usually that’s a positive sign for getting more opportunities to produce.”

St. Louis Blues coach Mike Yeo said he already noticed players slashing less often a few games into the preseason. That’s one of the intended consequences of calling certain types of slashes more.

“The players are the smartest people in the game relative to the game and they will adjust because nobody wants to sit in the penalty box,” Walkom said. “A lot of it’s reflex and habit, but the players will break old habits with a consistent enforcement.”

Old habits die hard, but it’s easier than healing broken bones.

Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SWhyno

For more AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey