If, like me, you get all of your news from Twitter the headline of this story didn't surprise you because you had already heard the news. If not, allow me to fill you in. According to actual insiders on Twitter the Oilers and Stars are working on a trade that would see the Oilers captain moved to Dallas in exchange for a depth defenceman and a draft pick. Here are tweets from a couple of reasonably reliable sources.
Oilers-Stars still working on Horcoff trade. Hearing defenseman Philip Larsen and a 7th to Oil. Could be more going to Dallas. #TSN— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 5, 2013
Since neither team has tweeted anything about the trade I think it's fair to say that, for now at least, this deal isn't quite complete. -- UPDATE: It's now official. -- In the tweet from Darren Dreger above he hints that there could be more coming from the Oilers, and this is likely the holdup. That addition could be a prospect, a pick, or some portion of Shawn Horcoff's contract. It should be noted though that so far indications are that Dallas will be taking on the full amount.
Assuming this deal is all but done lets break it down.
What the Oilers got:
A player and a pick. The player is Philip Larsen, a 23 year old defenceman. If you're not familiar with Larsen, you're probably not alone. Larsen has spent each of the last two seasons playing with the Stars, not every night, but most. He played 55 games in 11/12 and 30 last season. He also played a handful of games in the seasons before as well. His career counting numbers are 5 goals and 14 assists in 95 games. Larsen is listed as 6'0" and 190lbs, and with only 34 career PIMS those numbers would seem to indicate that he doesn't make up for that lack of scoring with an overly physical game.
Last year he played third pairing minutes, saw very little power play time, and almost never killed penalties. I wish I knew more about Larsen, but I can't really remember him from any games against the Oilers even though he has played them six times. Taking a look at his numbers courtesy of Behind The Net for last season as well as the year before I'm still not seeing a diamond in the rough here. Although being just 23 years old there is the chance he could still become a decent depth NHL player.
But fear not there is more; the Oilers also got a seventh round pick in the 2016 draft. I'm going to assume the 2016 draft is supposed to be the deepest of all time and that's why the Oilers pushed for that instead of a pick in either of the next two years. Or maybe that's when Katz' kid will be draft eligible and we really needed a second seventh round pick.
Why this deal is good:
As it stand right now it isn't good. It's very bad. Regardless of what Horcoff was paid (which is not his fault) he filled a role for this team, and that spot now needs to be replaced. And in return for creating a hole in their lineup the Oielrs got a player who does nothing in the short term to address the holes that exist on the Oilers blue line. The Oilers are a worse team now than they were this morning. I can't find a lot of good in that.
Why this deal might be good:
With the free agent silly season just hours away the Oilers have cleared up some cap space. Horcoff tied up $5.5M, whereas Larsen is worth just $1.025M, a savings of $4.475M. If Larsen ends up in the minors he Oilers savings skyrocket to $5.375M (
$4.6M edit). That extra cap space could be quite valuable for the Oilers as they head into free agency. But it's only good if they can spend it, and spend it wisely. If not they just cleared a bad contract off the books to make room for another bad contract. I have more faith with MacTavish at the helm than I would have had with Tambellini, but he has a huge shopping list for this off season, one that was made slightly longer by the events of today. I wish him luck.
Why this deal is bad:
We've known for some time that the Oilers were looking to deal both Horcoff and Ales Hemsky, but given there roles on the team I had hoped that the return wouldn't leave a gaping hole in the roster. MacTavish seemed to be thinking the same this when he said to Mark Spector that "we're not in a position that we're going to be able to move them without getting something substantial in return." This is not substantial, and I fear what it might mean for a future deal involving Ales Hemsky.
Why this deal is ugly:
Take a look at the depth chart. The Oilers don't have a healthy NHL calibre centre under contract right now. I've got my fingers and toes crossed that they can do something substantial about this in the coming days. If not we might be looking back at July 4, 2013 as the beginning of Rebuild 3.0.
Still looking for more: