OEL Goes To Vancouver In Blockbuster And We Got Some Pre-Draft Trades Rolling In

*This one is the monster trade of the day thus far. The Arizona Coyotes, a team that desperately needs a new arena to ensure franchise stability in The Valley, traded its captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson to the Canucks in a blockbuster. Local lad Conor Garland, a RFA in line for a big raise, will also join the D-man in Vancouver. In return, the Coyotes received the #9 overall pick tonight, a 2nd rounder in '22, a 7th rounder in '23, F Antoine Roussel, F Jay Beagle, and the artist formerly known as Loui Eriksson.

The Canucks get younger while adding a much-needed defenseman who will be looking to prove he still has a lot of game left. The 30-year-old OEL, who has six years remaining at $8.25M per, is coming off his worst NHL season and looking for a change of scenery as he waived his No Move Clause to get out of the desert. Garland is a talented, gritty, shifty playmaker/goalscorer who brings a lot of skill to Vancouver's top six. He should blend in very well with the Canucks young studs up front. Arizona gets back the 1st rounder it was stripped of for breaking the rules, another pair of picks, and potential deadline deal bait in March that adds up to $12M in expiring contracts. 

If I'm a Canucks fan (HA!), then I'm fired up right now. The team traded potential and three older guys for two sure things: a skilled D-man and 25-year-old heart-and-soul guy with great hands. The OEL $ isn't an ideal number, especially if his game doesn't bounce back. But the Canucks are a better team today than they were yesterday. As for the Coyotes, the 25-year holding pattern continues: players go out, potential comes in. 

*The Flyers already cut backend bait with Ghost Bear and Phil Myers and now they've added Robert Hägg to the list. Philly sent Hägg, the 13th overall pick tonight, and a 2nd rounder in '23 to Buffalo for D Rasmus Ristotlainen. In the last two days, the Flyers traded Hägg ($1.6M for one more year), Gostisbehere ($4.5M for two more years), a 1st, two 2nds, and a 7th for Ristolainen and "future considerations". 

The Flyers add a big vet on D as the team continues its off-season overhaul after a very disappointing season. But the move does come with significant risk as Ristolainen ($5.4M) will be UFA after this season. If he were to walk, that would be a pretty big cost for one year of service. This is a nice move by Buffalo, getting three assets for a guy who was walking at the end of the '21-'22 season. The Sabres also shaved $3.8 in payroll as well. 

*The Rags sent RFA 20-goal scorer Pavel Buchnevich to the Blues for Sammy Blais and a 2nd rounder next year. NY essentially sacrificed offense to shave a couple of million off their payroll while adding a draft pick. Buch turned into a nice little player but is apparently the odd man out. My man 610 has a great breakdown on this deal right here.