Fantasy Impact: The Edmonton Oilers have traded center Shawn Horcoff to Dallas in exchange for Philip Larsen and a late round draft pick.
The Stars get:
An overpaid but very good two-way center with a lot of good qualities. Horcoff would be better suited to a $2.5 or $3 million contract, but Dallas can afford to take on his cap hit for the next two years ($5.5 million). His actual salary is a lot lower, as the Oilers front-loaded the per year salary amount in this contract. Horcoff is extremely fit and is known for his strong work ethic, and he will be a great leadership presence on a very young team in Dallas (along with Ray Whitney, Erik Cole, and a few other veterans).
Ideally, Horcoff slides in on line three. What does this mean for Cody Eakin? Perhaps Rich Peverley stays at right wing? This signing gives Lindy Ruff a lot of options up front.
Dallas has essentially added three NHL caliber centers in the span of a few hours. Here’s a picture of Jim Nill at work today:
And I don't think Nill is close to being done yet, either.
The Oilers get:
An undersized but mobile defenseman who fell out of favour in Dallas last season. Larsen has NHL qualities, but needs to be placed in the right role with the right partner. He is overmatched against most NHL forwards from a physical standpoint, but he skates and moves the puck very well.
Larsen played third-pairing minutes for the Stars at even-strength in 2013, and saw trace amounts of time both shorthanded and on the power play. Unsurprisingly, he mostly saw opposition depth lines, though he did start far more regularly in his own zone than the offensive zone. He fell slightly below the team average in terms of on-ice shot numbers. He had performed better in 2011-12, though, playing similar minutes but with the Stars posting team-average on-ice shooting numbers with him on the ice.
Edmonton didn’t have a lot of right-side defensemen on the team or in the system (all of their top prospects are left side left shooters).
But the biggest thing Edmonton is getting out of this deal is $4.5 million in cap space – they need to use it wisely.
Fantasy Players Impacted:
Horcoff at the worst will be Dallas’ third line center, and he could see some time on line two as well. He moves in front of both Cody Eakin and Verne Fiddler (who suddenly is on the outside looking in) on the Dallas roster.
More on Horcoff from the Edmonton Journal’s Jonathan Willis (who is always a good guy to read):
The Oilers have an uncertain depth chart at centre. The incumbent first liner, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, underwent off-season shoulder surgery. His agent indicated in May that Nugent-Hopkins should be game-ready at the start of the season or close to it, but if he ends up missing parts of training camp he may not be at 100 percent even if he does play opening night.
The second line centre, Sam Gagner, is a restricted free agent whose contract negotiations seem to be dragging out; while MacTavish has indicated publicly that the team is eager to retain him his name has repeatedly cropped up in trade rumours. Other than that, the only other centre in the Oilers’ system with a definite NHL-ready resume is Shawn Horcoff.
In Edmonton, what does this mean for their forwards? They don’t really have anything up the middle right now – Sam Gagner is an RFA, Nugent-Hopkins will miss the beginning of the season with shoulder surgery recovery. Eric Belanger is being bought out. I imagine Craig MacTavish has some big things planned for the next few days….
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
1. Dallas’ top six forwards (Horcoff will take a tough role with the Stars)
2. Anton Lander
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
1. Corey Potter
2. Eakin (who could move to wing)
The trade is expected to be confirmed/made official on Friday AM.