Two days ago, Mike Heika reported that the Dallas Stars were looking to add not one but two centers, in hopes of moving Jamie Benn back to his natural position at the wing.
On Thursday, the Stars did exactly that, acquiring Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley from the Boston Bruins as part of a blockbuster, seven-player deal on the eve of free agency.
Heading back to Boston: all-star winger Loui Eriksson.
The full deal, according to TSN's Darren Dreger, sees the Stars acquiring Seguin, Peverley, and defensive prospect Ryan Button in exchange for Loui Eriksson, blueline prospect Joe Morrow, who moves for the second time this year, and right wingers Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser.
It's a deal that completely remakes the Stars' forward corps, clearing the way for Benn to replace Eriksson at left wing while improving their previously decimated centre depth. From the Dallas News:
The two right-handed centers are exactly what the Stars need, as they have shed top-line centers Brad Richards, Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy in recent years and are hoping to move their No. 1 center Jamie Benn back to left wing. Stars GM Jim Nill said on Tuesday after the Stars’ pursuit of free agent center Vincent Lecavalier ended fruitlessly that he still was hoping to acquire two centers in order to move Benn back.
“That’s my thinking. I believe that’s his natural position,” Nill said.
Seguin would go a long way to making that wish come true. Listed at 6-1, 182, Seguin is a fast skater, a skilled puck handler and a right-handed shot. He has been playing almost exclusively on the wing because of Boston’s depth at center, so he would get a chance to return to his natural position, as well. While the loss of Eriksson would be a serious blow for the Stars, it would open the door for players like Alex Chiasson, Brett Ritchie or Valeri Nichushkin to play in the top six or would create an opportunity for a veteran like Erik Cole to step up.
Nichuskin is an interesting name to bring up. The Russian winger has been vocal about not wanting to come to North America unless he has a spot in the NHL, and it sure looks like this move makes some room for that. With the acquisition of Sergei Gonchar earlier this year, the Stars have a veteran, Russian-speaking mentor in the waiting for him. This could would out very well for a Dallas team in transition.
As for the Bruins, it looks like Peter Chiarelli wasn't bluffing on moving Tyler Seguin after all. Let this be a lesson to anyone else: shape up, or you'll be shipped the flip out.
With his public comments about Seguin's work ethic, I got the (clearly very wrong) sense that the rumours the former 2nd overall pick was on the block were just an attempt to scare him straight. Sure sounds like he needed it, if Joe Haggerty is to be believed:
According to sources around the team, Seguin was out late in Toronto during the road trip to play the Leafs in the first round of the playoffs and the team had to hold a sit-down with the immature forward about his commitment to the team. Seguin showed up each day at the Air Canada Centre wearing the same clothes for three straight days and played badly in Games 3 and 4 of the first round against Toronto.
That incident coupled with stories of Seguin’s late night partying during the regular season prompted Peter Chiarelli to say that “[Seguin] needs to become more of a professional” during a tirade at draft weekend. The Bruins attempted to deal Seguin to the Calgary Flames last weekend, but ultimately Flames ownership squashed any deals for the six-year, $5.75 million contract for Seguin while they go through a full rebuild with inexpensive, youthful players.
But Chiarelli was indeed done with Seguin. And thus, he goes, and the Stars will hope that advisor Mark Recchi, who is familiar with him, can work on that professionalism.
In Seguin's stead in Boston, the quiet, supremely talented and professional Eriksson comes in. “If I were to trade Tyler, it would be for an elite young prospect or player,” Chiarelli was quoted as saying a while back. Eriksson is indeed elite.
He's a left winger, not a right winger, so he won't solve the problem the Bruins have with Nathan Horton and Jaromir Jagr both headed to free agency. But he's an excellent, smart, all-star hockey player that certainly makes them stronger up front, and this trade clears about $4.5 million in cap space, so now they have a little more to work with in filling the hole at right wing, as well as finalizing that Tuukka Rask deal.
Update: The Bruins see Eriksson as their right wing fix after all.
Peter Chiarelli said they see Loui Eriksson as a right wing. Big piece for them w/departure of Horton, Seguin & Jagr #BruinsTalk
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) July 4, 2013
Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser could be right wing options for the Bruins in the future. Smith was with Dallas all last season, but he's a longshot to be a top-six option at this point in his development.
Meanwhile, Joe Morrow, the biggest part of the Brenden Morrow trade, is on the move again.
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