There’s no Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews awaiting the winner of the 2017 NHL Draft lottery, but there is game-changing talent on which teams would love to get first dibs.
In a post-signing conference call, Kulikov called his brutal single season in Buffalo a “setback,” though the Sabres gladly told the defenseman not to let the swinging bench door hit him on the way out. Kulikov’s struggles predated his 2016 trade to the Sabres, and his stock has fallen considerably since his early years. The 26-year-old held little leverage (beside his age) and the Jets caved with a player-friendly deal that they’ll probably regret in a year or two.
The typically astute Steve Yzerman committed a rare misfire with Girardi, who’s the butt of practically every analytics joke that has ever existed. Unlike the aforementioned low-money deals given to recent buyouts, the Lightning inexplicably gave the 33-year-old more term and money than he deserves. Yzerman seems to feel Girardi is a fit in Tampa’s top four, but plodding defensemen have no place eating up top minutes on a championship-caliber team.
Vegas also acquired scoring winger Reilly Smith from the Panthers in exchange for a 2018 fourth-round draft pick, the teams announced. Smith took a step back last season with just 37 points in 80 games and still has five years remaining on his contract at $5 million AAV. Marchessault was the price to pay to offload that deal.
Haula, a restricted free agent, is headed to Vegas after reportedly signing a three-year extension worth $2.75 million AAV. Minnesota agreed to trade prospect Alex Tuch and a second-round draft pick Cheap Braves Jerseys in either the 2017 or 2018 drafts so the Knights wouldn’t take coveted defensemen Matt Dumba, Marco Scandella and forward Cheap Authentic NHL Jerseys Eric Staal.