BUFFALO — Didn’t take long for the trades to start at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Just moments after Toronto made Auston Matthews the No. 1 pick, Montreal pulled off a pair of deals — first sending Lars Eller to Washington for a pair of second-round picks, then acquiring Andrew Shaw from Chicago for a pair of second-round picks.
It was a lot to digest in a short period of time.
For Montreal, they move on from Eller, the oft-criticized center. Halfway through a four-year, $14 million deal with a $3.5M cap hit, Eller had a down year production-wise — just 13 goals and 26 points — but will give the Caps some extra depth down the middle, behind Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeni Kuznetsov.
Shaw, meanwhile, will certainly give the Canadiens some more bite.
A grinding, hard-nosed forward that was a fan favorite in Chicago, Shaw is a pending RFA that — based on reports from earlier today — was seeking $4.5 million annually on his new deal. Though he’s definitely in line for a raise — he’s a two-time Cup winner with at least 14 goals in each of the last three seasons — it was difficult for the cap-strapped ‘Hawks to pay that kind of money.
With Shaw off the books, and Marcus Kruger possibly on the move as well, Chicago could have the available cap space to bring home former defenseman Brian Campbell, who is reportedly keen on going back to the Windy City.