Hot stove catches fire; Lucic to Edmonton speculation

So, Hockey Internet, how was your afternoon?

So, let’s go, piece-by-piece. Taylor Hall, straight up, for Adam Larsson. That’s an absurdly bad trade for Edmonton. It’s difficult to compare two players who play separate positions where one of them is a 23-year-old defenseman, but here you will find that Hall ranks fourth in even strength scoring over the past two years – between Patrick Kane and Ryan Getzlaf – and here you will see Larsson ranks 227th in the league in CorsiFor/60 relative to his teammates, between Klas Dahlbeck and Johnny Oduya. Even if you use another metric for trying to gauge Larsson’s worth, it’s clear that he’s a good, young defender, but far from a #1 overall D, which is what the Oilers have so desperately needed for years. There is the expectation that he will continue to grow into one, but at this moment he is not a #1 D on a good team.

Again, it’s difficult to use statistics in this particular evaluation fair to both players, as Larsson has really only spent three full seasons (2011-12, as well as the last two seasons) in the league since he was drafted fourth overall in 2011 and is still developing. Further, I’m not privy to any internal knowledge of what may have influenced the decision to trade Hall. But Larsson is not yet a number one defenseman, and Edmonton just traded one of its top two franchise forwards to acquire him. That’s both an indictment of the state of the Oilers and a frightening glimpse at the market for a young, right-handed defenseman.

It also means that there appears to be a very good chance that Milan Lucic’s destination is Edmonton. This shouldn’t shock you; he was as good as gone from Los Angeles last week, and visited Edmonton yesterday. (Reports that had him committed to Edmonton were false; teams and UFAs have been able to communicate since June 25 but can’t actually exchange proposals, though agents and representatives do have a decent ballpark of what they’ll be able to offer.)

If Edmonton is indeed where Lucic is heading on July 1, so be it. The Oilers, despite the lack of a true number one defenseman, should still take a step forward this season. That they haven’t yet been able to land that A#1 stud does blunt the trajectory of their rise, which hasn’t yet lifted sharply from the league floor.

Well, then. There aren’t as many FEELINGS about this trade as the other one, and those who would dismiss Shea Weber as ineffective – seriously, there are those who legitimately believe that – are relying too heavily on data and not enough on more intangible components that do exist. We’ve been over this balancing act before. But Weber does have an AAV of $7.86M through the 2025-26 season (!), turns 31 in August and has shown signs of reaching a more advanced hockey age, having posted the worst 5×5 GF/60 and lowest 5×5 shooting percentage (though not by any wide margin on the latter claim) of his career in 2015-16. P.K. Subban is a younger and simply better player, having posted 53, 60 and 51-points in his 24, 25 and 26-year old seasons. His NMC kicks in on Friday, hence the particular timing of this trade. Kings fans will see him on October 27 and March 9 at Staples Center.

Lastly, the Lightning re-signed Steven Stamkos for eight years at an $8.5M AAV. He wasn’t on the Kings’ radar because the salary cap still exists. While it does appear that he took less than what would have been available on the open market to stay with Tampa Bay, it’s also interesting to speculate on whether the lack of a state income tax was a primary influence in his decision. Here’s Joe Smith from the Tampa Bay Times:

As Tampa Bay Times analysis in January showed Stamkos could net nearly the same annually after taxes in Tampa Bay at $8.5 million as $10 million in New York (Rangers, Islanders), presuming he’d be a New York City resident (see chart); Stamkos would make more over the length of the deal in Tampa because of the extra year. Stamkos would net just $500,000 less annually than a $10 million deal Detroit, another strong suitor, but, again, more over the length of the deal.

And Stamkos’ hometown Maple Leafs, due to a 53.53 percent provincial/federal tax code, would have to offer him $12.37 annually over seven years to net the same as he’d make over eight years at $8.5 million in Tampa, according to national tax guru Robert Raiola.

Also, certainly an influence: the Lightning are obviously in a position to contend right now, whereas the Maple Leafs and Sabres and perhaps several other hypothetical suitors aren’t quite there. With Tampa Bay having to trim some fat from its salary structure, don’t be surprised to see Steve Yzerman continue to explore options to move Ben Bishop, who has one year remaining at $5.95M before he becomes unrestricted. Andrei Vasilevskiy is due to earn $925K this year before becoming an RFA.

Advanced stats via, Corsica Hockey

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