Habs trade Eller to Washington, and acquire Shaw from Chicago
After the Toronto Maple Leafs selected Auston Matthews first overall, the Montreal Canadiens made a pair of deals. The first sent centre Lars Eller to the Washington Capitals for the Caps’ second round picks in 2017 and 2018. The second trade sent two second round picks from Montreal from this year’s draft – their own and Minnesota’s that they already had acquired – to Chicago for winger Andrew Shaw.
This appears to solve the third line centre problems for Washington. With Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Lars Eller down the middle, the Caps have the three steady centres needed for a deep playoff run.
What this does, though, is kind of muddle things for Marcus Johansson. With Andre Burakovsky, and likely Jakub Vrana on his way, it seems like both the centre, and left wing, position is set for the Capitals. With Johansson due for a new contract as a restricted free agent, there really isn’t a spot for him in the top-9. I suppose they could have Vrana or Burakovsky on the fourth line, but that seems like kind of a waste. We will see what Washington actually does.
I think the acquisition means that Vrana starts the year in Washington’s top-9 now. Johansson can essentially play all three forward positions, but if he’s traded, I would wager Vrana will start on the third, maybe even the second line. That should include second unit PP time. This gives Vrana late-round value in 12-team-or-deeper drafts next year.
Eller’s fantasy value doesn’t really change a whole lot. The Caps will be a higher scoring team than the Habs, but playing consistently on the third line, with possibly some second unit PP time, doesn’t give him much fantasy relevance. It would take an injury for him to really be worth a draft pick in anything smaller than 14-team leagues.
Montreal traded a third line centre for a third line right winger, though he could slot at centre if needed. There is no doubt what this trade is indicative of – the Habs want to get tougher/grittier/punchier than they have been in the past.
We will have to see where Shaw slots in. He can play the power play, but he is a net-front-type player, and that’s already