The Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars gave hockey fans a reason to pause their Fourth of July celebrations by completing a seven-player blockbuster trade highlighted by star forwards Tyler Seguin and Loui Eriksson.
TSN's Darren Dreger first reported the entire deal, which was completed after Eriksson and Rich Peverley waived their no-trade clauses. It includes forwards Reilly Smith, Mark Fraser, Eriksson and defenseman Joe Morrow going from Dallas to Boston in exchange for defenseman Ryan Button and forwards Seguin and Peverley.
This is a great trade for both teams because it allows them to upgrade certain weaknesses right now and also have important assets for future success.
At first glance, it looks like a bold move by the Bruins because giving up on an ultra-talented forward of Seguin's caliber is a risk. The former No. 2 overall draft pick led the team in scoring during the 2011-12 season with 67 points and finished the 2013 season with a respectable 32 points in 48 games.
The most disappointing part of his brief career in Boston was his lackluster performance in the playoffs. Since a breakout four-point second period in Game 2 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Final, Seguin tallied just 12 points in his last 40 playoff games. He failed to find the back of the net in Boston's last 11 playoff games of 2013.
With that said, his playmaking and goal-scoring skills are phenomenal, and he will significantly upgrade the talent and overall speed of the Stars offense. Dallas desperately needed additional depth at the center position, which was a huge weakness of the team last season.
Seguin wasn't able to play center in Boston because of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Chris Kelly being on the roster, but he will finally be able to play in his natural position as a member of the Stars. Seguin's arrival will also allow superstar forward Jamie Benn to play on the wing in Dallas, which is where he's most comfortable.
The young forward will also benefit from the leadership and wisdom of Mark Recchi, who was a teammate of Seguin's in Boston during the team's 2011 Stanley Cup title run and is now a member of the Stars' front office.
"This year wasn’t [Seguin's] best year, but it was a trying year and a weird year to assess players," said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli on Thursday.
"I had some comments on Tyler at the draft regarding his professionalism and him acting like a professional. I prefaced that by saying he’s only twenty-one and he’ll figure it out. You know what you have to manage your team, you have to manage your players, you have to manage your cap, and that was part of the reason why we made this move."
The acquisition of Peverley brings great speed, excellent penalty killing and versatility to the Dallas lineup with his ability to play center or on the wing.
Peverley will also help the Stars improve on faceoffs, where they ranked 27th last year with a weak 47.1 percent success rate. He finished eighth in faceoff percentage (58.4) among all players who took 250 or more draws last season.
As for Boston, this is a win-now type of move for a team coming off a six-game defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.
The two most notable players coming to Boston are Eriksson, who is one of the league's most underrated and durable players, as well as top prospect Joe Morrow, a defenseman who was a first-round pick in 2011.
Eriksson is only 27 years old and has tallied 63-plus points (including an average of 29.5 goals) in the last four non-lockout seasons. The Swedish forward finished 2013 with 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) in 48 games.
He's a better fit in Boston's rigid, defensive style of hockey than Seguin because of his impressive stick work, willingness to play physical and strong penalty-killing ability. Unlike Seguin, Eriksson will go to the dirty areas and win puck battles consistently. He's also a phenomenal skater and protects the puck well.
"[Eriksson is] a good two-way player. Knows where to find the spots to score. Has a good shot, good release from either side. Can play on the [power play]," said Chiarelli. "He can play the right side, and he has left-shot skill. He spreads out your power play. He’s a fast and a good two-way player. There’s a lot of his game that fits into how we play."
Another benefit of acquiring Eriksson is the team-friendly $4.25 million salary cap hit in his contract, which doesn't expire until after the 2015-16 season, per CapGeek.
Taking on this deal and getting rid of Seguin's six-year, $34 million contract (which begins in 2013-14) along with the other salary involved in this trade results in the Bruins having just over $9 million in salary cap space. This will allow Chiarelli to re-sign star goaltender Tuukka Rask (an RFA) and make one more significant upgrade to his roster in free agency or via the trade market.
Here's a complete breakdown of the salaries in this deal, provided by Eric Macramalla of TSN:
Morrow is a high-end prospect with impressive offensive ability. He projects to be a top-four NHL defenseman and will compete with young Bruins blueliners Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski for ice time next season.
This is the second time he's been traded since January. He was also dealt from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stars in the Brenden Morrow deal from late March. Is the 20-year-old in high demand or is there a concern among teams that is causing him to be traded? We will soon find out, but there's no question that he has impressive skill and potential.
After all the analysis, I believe both teams will be improved next year and in the future because of this deal.
The Stars have acquired an elite talent in Seguin, who could be a franchise cornerstone player along with Benn for a decade or more. Acquiring Peverley also gives Dallas valuable depth, versatility, faceoff skill and championship experience.
The Bruins have upgraded their depth on the wing by adding Eriksson, which gives them another two-way top-six forward capable of shining on special teams. The acquisition of Morrow strengthens Boston's prospect pool with another talented young defenseman.
It will take many years to accurately judge who ultimately won this blockbuster trade, but one thing we already know is that the Bruins and Stars are both committed to making bold moves to ensure success right now and well into the future.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. He was also a credentialed writer at the 2011 and 2013 Stanley Cup Final, as well as the 2013 NHL draft. All quotes obtained first hand.