The rule is that the end of July is when the NHL insiders can retreat to their cottages because the news is done for the summer until Lou Lamoriello allows his moves to be announced during training camp.
But Matthew “Mouthpiece, or Pacifier?” Tkachuk’s unwillingness to sign long term in Calgary changed that, and the Flames’ arguably impressive maneuver out of that predicament brought a summer surprise: An actual star-for-star blockbuster trade, all too rare in the salary cap era.
Even before the cap era, most blockbuster trades had some kind of money impetus behind them: Ted Lindsay wanted to unionize the players, Peter Pocklington didn’t want to pay any Oiler, Pat LaFontaine was tired of playing for broken (and broke) promises, Michael Peca felt Buffalo owed him more, etc.
The same occurs today, although the Tkachuk-Jonathan Huberdeau trade was more about pending free agency than the money either would command.
Florida wasn’t sure it could re-sign Huberdeau within its cap, while Tkachuk was ready to sign — and long-term (plus he’s younger, and probably better, etc.), which took care of that whole Panthers dilemma and introduced a different element to an outstanding team that has disappointed in the postseason.
It’s not Islanders news — there’s none of that right now — but it’s good late July theater by NHL standards.
- Are there “rumblings” that the Islanders have pushed for Nazem Kadri, and would it make sense (they already have good centers), and how could they fit him? [Athletic]
- The Maven digs back: “There was a lot to like about Oleg Kvasha in 2000...” [Isles]
- Original Islander Ed Westfall recalls the early years and struggles of the franchise. [Newsday]
- Argument: The Isles need a bounce-back season from Semyon Varlamov. [THW]
- No real Isles content but this one quip in Brooks’ Sunday roundup column: “If Lou Lamoriello’s insistence on keeping Semyon Varlamov as a $5 million backup to Ilya Sorokin is evidence that the Islanders GM thinks his team is going to have to play a season of 3-2 games, well, I’m rather skeptical that represents the route to success.” [Post]
- For Huberdeau, it was a stunner, but the Flames hope he wants to stick around. He’s open to it, “but at the end of the day, it’s not my decision. It’s my general manager and agent who work this out ... obviously they’re the ones that traded for me. That means they want me. ... You want to play for a team that wants you, and that’s all I want.” [NHL]
- Fellow acquisition mate Mackenzie Weeger is also open to a long contract. [TSN]
- More from Huberdeau’s presser: “Big shock...but a new chapter...it’s part of life...just have to move forward.” [TSN]
- Tkachuk also greeted his new press. He used to hate the Oilers, now he knows to hate the Lightning. [ESPN]
- Born in Arizona, Tkachuk hopes to help grow the game in Florida, too. [Sportsnet]
- Tkachuk said the RFA discussion period made him realize he wanted to leave Calgary. “I wanted to be straight with them right away and being able to work with them made this so much easier.” [Sportsnet]
- Offseason outlook: The Panthers have a new coach in Paul Maurice, and a new star winger/troll in Tkachuk. [NHL]
- Offseason outlook: The Flyers were good candidates for a tear-down but that’s not what they did, no sir. [THN]
- Hockey Canada is totally ready to address that whole issue of sexual assault being a “boys will be boys, we’ll cover the lawsuit damages” kind of thing. Their plan includes a flow chart and six pillars, which is just great. [Sportsnet]
- Connor McDavid endorses the Oilers adding Jack Campbell...probably because he’s bound to stop more pucks than the previous guys. [NHL | TSN]
- Pierre-Luck Dubois asserts he never requested a trade (from Winnipeg...Columbus is another story) but isn’t sure why his agent Pat “hey John I can get you to Toronto, it will be great” Brisson was stirring things up about him going to Montreal. [NHL]
It’s Lola + Joseph, not quite Matthew + Jonathan, but it passes for July Talk: